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Cauldron and Candle
Issue #87 -- September 2007

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


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C A U L D R O N   A N D   C A N D L E #87 -- September 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/
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In this Issue:

[00] Editorial Notes
[01] Cauldron News
   * Avatar Design Challenge #2 Results
[02] Interesting Recent Cauldron Discussions
   * Online Magic School Experiences?
   * Do Magic and Some Religions Mix?
   * Types of Magical Practice?
   * Lithomancy?
   * God/Goddess vs. Specific Deities
   * Reversed Tarot Cards
   * Point of the Astral/What is the Astral?
   * Tarot not for Strong Empaths?
   * Wicca and Polytheism
   * O' Great Golden One (It's Apollo...)
[03] Articles
   * How to Keep Your Coven from Being Destroyed: Part VII
   * Who Sings Now? I
   * Reading Tarot Cards - Reading for Another Person
   * The Pagan Reconstructionist's Dilemma
   * Review: Llewellyn's 2008 Magical Almanac
   * Review: Llewellyn's 2008 Witches' Datebook
   * Review: Llewellyn's 2008 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
   * Review: Isaac Newton's Freemasonry
[04] Flamekeeping: Hell-Dreams
[05] Software Gadgets: The Column
   * Explorer XP
   * ImageTasks — Image Batch-Processing Freeware
   * Folder Guide — Fast Access to Folders in Open/Save Dialogs
[06] Grimoire: Attract the Perfect Lover Spell
[07] Recipe: Frog Eyes (Pickle Rolls)
[08] Support The Cauldron
[09] Newsletter Information
(Including How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe)

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Welcome to the September 2007 issue of Cauldron and Candle. You
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This issue has a wider selection of articles thanks to Moon Ivy,
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========= by The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum Staff

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 * http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=2764.0

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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

===== Online Magic School Experiences?

I find it difficult to sit down and just read a book, but at the
same time I find myself doing open-ended Google searches and
joining in on forum discussions on religious topics. I guess it's
just more interactive, and that is why I am interested in
something like an online learning program. I've checked into some
of the educational sites out there and some stand out more than
others, and I am trying to figure out if any of them are right
for me.

Anyway, the sites that I've found are

College of the Sacred Mists -- Very nice website, well laid out,
and upcoming video seminars with Janet Farrar + Gavin Bone (The
Farrars are probably my favorite authors in the field). On the
negative side, quite expensive at $20/month plus a $25 enrollment

WitchSchool -- seem to offer a much more diverse set of courses
than the other schools and even put out stuff on YouTube
regularly. They are probably the lowest costing of the bunch. The
problem is that they seem quite "fluffbunny," in some of their
methods. They put a seance on YouTube that made me wonder if they
were serious which really made me think twice about becoming a
member. I believe that they recently disabled the ability to do a
trial course for non-paying members, as well.

Grey School of Wizardry -- has the right people with credibility
behind it (Oberon Zell), but aimed at younger people with lots of
Harry Potter overtones, so I'm not really feeling it's a good
match for me.

Magicka School -- Offers more than the others for free, but seems
to be lacking in diversity (seems limited to

I was wondering if anyone was (or is) a member of any of these
sites or any others I may have missed. If I do decide to try it,
I am leaning towards WitchSchool or College of the Sacred Mists
since these seem to offer the most variety/credibility, but
definitely want to hear your thoughts good or bad on any of them.

Looking forward to reading your replies!

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Do Magic and Some Religions Mix?

I'm seriously interested in witchcraft and magic of the non-
Wiccan variety, but I'm also trying to find a belief system that
most fits the way I live my life and makes more sense to me than
the ones I've seen so far. Really, what I've been interested in
is Hellenism and the ethical codes and sensible attitude they
have toward their gods and their everyday lives; plus I am
intimately familiar with the gods of Hellenism and have felt a
connection with them more than once.

However, I've heard from some that magic and Hellenism do not
mix, nope, no question about it. I'm just wondering what your
opinions on it are and if these two things can be used in sync.
Also, what are the differences between non-Wiccan witchcraft
paths? I'd like to learn more about them so I can fairly evaluate
which one is best for me.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Types of Magical Practice?

I know most of us don't fit into one category in regards to how
we choose to do our workings but I'd really like to hear about
other people's 'style', if you could call it that. Do you prefer
ceremonial magick with all the bells and whistles or do you go
more along the lines of intrinsic or inner magick? How about the
so-called kitchen witches? How would you describe your 'style'?
How do those who follow nature magick go about their business? Or
how about shamanism or alchemy? I'd love to have different points
of view.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Lithomancy?

I very recently stumbled upon a form of divination that I had not
known about before. Lithomancy, the art divination using stones.
I actually first heard about it this weekend from me new favorite
book Witchcraft for Tomorrow.

Sadly though I have no real information on it and the few
searches I have come up with haven't given much detail on how to
use it. I understand the main concept, different stones relate to
different astrological plants and also different aspects of live,
love, luck, news, magick, ummm, I forget the others... and you
would predict depending oh how the stones would fall. I hope I am
understanding it right.

What I would like to know basically is if anyone has any kind of
information or resources on this type of divination? have any of
you used it personally and how has it worked out for you? Are
there any books devoted to the subject that I might be able to
get a hold of?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== God/Goddess vs. Specific Deities

In doing more research and reading, I've come across a bit of a
snafu that I seemed to have overlooked "last time." Much of Pagan
literature speaks of the relationship between the Goddess and the
God, almost as a pantheon unto themselves. And then, on the other
hand, there are tons of pantheons which people follow, either
collectively or working with one or two deities.

If you are drawn to or are working with a set pantheon or
deities, do you still honor the Goddess and the God? At this
point, I believe that both modes are equally "legitimate," and
that the separate gods and goddesses are all different facets of
the God or Goddess. My sometimes-straight-and-narrow Virgo mind
has trouble wrapping itself around all the shades of gray that
could be involved. And the more I think about it, the more
muddled I get.

Is there anyone out there who just follows the Goddess and the
God? (Sort of the "monotheistic" way of Paganism.) Do you just
follow a specific pantheon or god(s)/goddess(es)? If you worship
both ways, how do they fit together in your path?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Reversed Tarot Cards

I was going to ask how you go about allowing reversed cards in,
as I am particularly fussy about ensuring things are the right
way up, generally, but suddenly feel I should allow my cards to
reverse, should they so wish.

My original question was how do you go about introducing the
possibility of reversed cards? Would you deliberately reverse say
half of them? Would you twist the odd card during shuffling? Etc.
However, on shuffling the cards earlier this popped in to my head
and one of the cards literally jumped out of my hands and slid
across the table lol! That, combined with the fact that I feel
ready to read reversed cards, let me accept it, and it did make
me giggle somewhat too!

I glimpsed at the card on replacing it and it was reversed in the
pack. I don't know which card it was though (I'm good at that, I
can look at the answers to crosswords and sudoku without seeing
anything I shouldn't do!) and since then I've quickly gone
through the pack and there are at least 4 or 5 that are the wrong
way up in the pack now (not sure how there are that many, only
one jumped and I was, until today, very careful).

I'm just wondering whether or not anyone else ended up doing
reversed cards like this, or whether you took deliberate steps to
accept reversed cards?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Point of the Astral/What is the Astral?

I hear a lot of discussion about what people are doing on the

What I've never understood, and what I'd love to have explained,
is what the astral /is/. How can you tell the difference between
the astral and a daydream? What do you /do/ there?

I mean to ask with respect, so if the question is coming across
wrong, I'm sorry. I just don't understand - and I want to.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Tarot not for Strong Empaths?

So I've gotten advice from people in my life, and I'm wanting to
get a collective opinion on the subject. I was at a (real) occult
shop in my hometown last week, and the shopkeep (hehe I love that
word) walked over to me and gently removed the deck from my hand.
I was a little peeved, to say the least. He said that tarot isn't
for strong empaths. I was surprised, as not many people save for
family have ever been able to tell (it runs in the family, thanks
ma), but I was confused. The gentleman laughed, called me a wild
empath, and tried to tell me that while I am extremely powerful,
I am but wild and not accustomed to my worth. While this is true,
I can't control it nor things I am able to do, I was a bit upset.
Why would empathy make for a bad tarot reading? I mean, I'm not
out to pretend to be something I'm not, I'm not going to read
tarot for money or anything of that sort. I just wanted to get to
know that sort of thing a bit better, you know?

I suppose, if anyone has any advice it would be greatly
appreciated. I'm still going to purchase a deck and work with my
Teacher in my Order, but I'm curious to know what you all think
about what this shopkeep (man I love that word!) had said
to/about me.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== Wicca and Polytheism

As a disclaimer, let me first say that by Wicca, I'm talking
about is non-oathbound material - that is what is available in
books, magazines etc... I understand that there has been a lot of
discussion about what separates NeoWicca from Wicca from
Wiccanesque from eclectic, but I'm still unsure of exactly where
the lines are.

That said, I'm wondering if there is anything contradictory in
being a polytheistic Wiccan. Most of what I've read presents
Wicca as duotheistic or even a kind of light monotheism* but I've
also heard people say that they themselves are hard polytheists
who have a patron and matron deity (oftentimes from ancient
pantheons) which they focus on. And then I've also heard some
Wiccans say that the Goddess/God of Wicca are separate deities
whom you worship using Wiccan rituals.

So I'm kind of confused. I know a lot of people who claim the
Wiccan label have totally different ideas wrt theology and such.
I just feel a strong draw to a lot of what I read about Wicca,
but I'm also more of a hard polytheist and I'm looking for a
little elucidation.

* This, I will admit, is something more common in fluffier books,
but it's still pretty common.

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

===== O' Great Golden One (It's Apollo...)

As you all probably know there are several followers of Apollo
here on TC, myself included, so I figured it's about time he got
his own thread. He's already getting a cookie, it's the seventh
of the month. (The cookie is almond sugar rolled in coconut...)

I'd like to keep the thread UPG, various instances you've
experienced, odd quirks of his(though he would never do anything
odd), or even favorite myths....

I'll start, he hates my cat. To the point of a giving me a near
allergy despises him, poor Barnaby never did anything wrong,
spoiled, yes. Pain in the butt, I'll give him that. But nothing
that should make him hate Barnaby...

Besides being a cat-hater I adore him, he's pretty much

Anyone else or just me?

* Read (or join in) this discussion:

========= ARTICLES

===== Part 7 (of 7): Keeping Trolls at a Distance...
=====                  or Remote Con-Troll
===== by Eran

In this series, I've described some of the dangers trolls
represent, some ways of recognizing them, some descriptions of
what works and what doesn't in trying to handle them. Here are
some closing thoughts - a summary of how to deal with trolls, and
some descriptions of what you can expect from them after they're

=== Basic Troll Handling: A Summary

The theory of trollhandling is really very simple:

Learn how to recognize trolls. Once you are convinced that a
person is, in fact, a troll, the actions you should take are

* If you recognize trolls before they join your Coven, don't let
them in.

* If they fool you for a while and get in anyway, once you
realize what you're dealing with, kick them out.

If someone seems to be exhibiting troll-like behavior: Go over in
your mind the trolls you might have met, your interactions with
them, and the kinds of trollish behaviors they displayed. Review
the earlier chapters on how to spot trolls. If you become
convinced that a potential Coven member is a troll, tell that
person, "Our Coven is not really a good fit for you. Paganism is
a big place. I'm sure you'll find a group more to your liking
elsewhere." For a current Coven member, use this same speech, and
end it with, "Just to be clear: you are no longer a member of
this Coven."

Be firm and uncomplicated. There is no need to be sarcastic or
cruel. The troll will probably accuse you of being cruel anyway,
but you know the difference between firmness and cruelty, so
don't let yourself become hesitant. Being firm, straightforward,
and to the point tells the troll you are not afraid, and you have
no question about this being the right decision. Trolls, like
guard dogs, can smell fear and uncertainty a mile away, and will
try to use your own fears and uncertainties to intimidate you.
But there is no need for hesitation at this point. You know what
to do, you know it's necessary, and you are fully capable of
doing it.

Do not bend over backwards to be understanding or gentle. Don't
couch your words in polite euphemisms. Don't be subtle - trolls
will ignore or misinterpret subtlety when it suits them.

The troll will ask for justification or explanation. Don't get
into a recitation of reasons. You'll be given excuses and
misdirections, tales of misfortune or misunderstandings,
victimizations and "subjective realities". Instead, just repeat:
"Our Coven is not a good fit for you. I'm sure you'll find a
group more to your liking elsewhere. You are no longer a member
of this Coven," or, "... You are not going to become a member of
this Coven."

After that, insist the troll stay away. Don't try to "settle your
differences" with the troll. Don't try to make him or her like
you. Don't even try to explain your decision to the troll. In
general, from that point on, treat expelled trolls as if they
don't exist.

Trying to have any sort of relationship with expelled trolls - or
even allowing them to have further contact with you or with your
Coveners - will be seen as vulnerability. Trolls will interpret
such actions as invitations to try again, opportunities to resume
or continue their manipulative and destructive behavior.

On the other hand, firmly cutting off contact tells a troll that
you don't play trollish games, and won't be sucked into one. It
sends the message that you can't be manipulated, and can't be
frightened into engaging in defensive behavior.

Don't bother to answer letters from an expelled troll, or to
return phone calls. It will serve no purpose. But if a troll
calls you and catches you at home, don't just hang up, for this
will be interpreted as fear, and will invite accusations of
rudeness or something worse. It's far better to be confidant and
firm - and unhurried.

Learn a few simple phrases, and practice repeating them like a
broken record, firmly but calmly: "Our association has ended. We
really have nothing to discuss." If the troll asks whether he or
she can call you back at a better time, answer, "Our association
has ended. We really have nothing to discuss." If you're asked
why you're being so hard and cruel, answer, "Our association has
ended. We really have nothing to discuss." If you're asked some
other question - How are you these days?, or Did you see the
latest Kevin Costner movie? - answer, "Our association has ended.
We really have nothing to discuss." Then say, "I'm very busy
right now, so I'm going to hang up. Good-bye." And then hang up.
You don't need to wait for the troll to say goodbye. Chances are
he or she won't.

The word "association" is much better than "relationship." Don't
say, "Our relationship is over." You don't want to give the troll
an opportunity to play upon any implied intimacy of a past
"relationship." An "association" is a much more vague concept,
more impersonal, less intimate. Describing your past connection
as an "association" is likely to make the troll pause at least a

=== Online Afterwards

Do not respond to emails from a troll. Most importantly, do not
allow an expelled troll to engage you in online conversation in
email lists or newsgroups. A troll who has attacked you in real
life is even more likely to do so online, before a potential
audience of millions. It is likely that some public posts
addressed to you from a troll may be polite and even interesting,
or curious about some point. You may be tempted to imagine that
the troll has changed, and can be trusted to engage in civil
behavior in public. Don't be fooled. The troll will use a couple
of polite emails to draw you into saying something which the
troll can twist into an attack. Trolls are incredibly tenacious.
They will come after you again if you leave an opening, and the
medium of the internet is much too attractive a place for them to
pass up.

If an expelled troll addresses a post to you on a public email
list, you really have no good option. The best response is
probably to simply ignore it. Pretend the post was not there at
all. Conversations on email lists generally move past quickly
enough that any specific post will rapidly be forgotten. It the
troll insists on repeatedly attempting to engage you, continue to
ignore it. Any public response at all will play into the troll's

If someone asks you why you're ignoring these particular posts,
you can respond in private email, with something like, "I prefer
not to respond to contacts from an expelled member of my Coven."
It is a very unusual list in which the participants understand
the dangers and techniques of trolls, so, in most cases, any
public statement of why you're declining to answer will usually
be seen by others as an attack by you upon the poor troll, and
the troll will have no trouble portraying you as being mean and
vindictive. Until there is a general acceptance and recognition
of the existence, techniques, and attitudes of trolls, you can't
reliably or effectively explain what's really going on. Depending
on the nature and usual tone of that particular list, you can try
a short and simple public response. A fairly gentle reply might
be, "We have private issues between us, and I want to insure they
don't come up here." You can try much stronger responses also,
but be aware that the stronger your response is, the more heat it
will generate, so you have to really know your audience well, and
hope they know you. In any case, keep the reply to one or two
very short sentences, and end with, "That's all I care to say
about it in public."

Trolls will go online and say or imply nasty and false things
about you and about their experiences in your Coven. Do your best
to ignore that as well. The people who know you will know those
things are false. Being drawn into an online argument about it
will make you seem defensive and worried and weak, and will
invite further attacks.

Expelled trolls will use the precious things you taught them to
become liked and respected by people as far as electrons can
reach. Trolls will portray themselves as charming, sincere,
knowledgeable, helpful, and all-around wonderful people. They
tend to gather good-sized followings of people online who will
think the world of them - most of whom will never meet them face-
to-face. It is galling in the extreme to see trolls blithely
chatting away on the internet, gaining friends and using their
incredibly effective trollish charms to earn accolades and praise
for themselves, when you know what they're really like. There's
really very little you can do about that. This may be one of the
hardest things to deal with in the aftermath of a troll's
attacks. View the troll as a plague which passed through your
Coven, and which may, sadly, affect others later, an impersonal
force which you can't stem and for which there is no good form of
protection or inoculation. View it al as potential learning
opportunities for the people who are taken in by the troll's

=== Re-Engagement?

At some later date, an expelled troll may call you to ask for
help. The kinds of help requested could be anything, from the
most mundane to the most occult. The troll could need money, or
could be convinced he or she is under psychic attack, or could be
in the throes of another conflict with someone else. In any case,
you really don't need to know about it, and you really don't want
to get involved again. Helping the troll out of some tight jam is
not your responsibility. It won't generate any feelings of
gratitude or obligation on the part of the troll. It won't
convince the toll that you're not really such a bad person. All
it'll do is get you tangled up again, and make you once more
vulnerable to the troll's manipulative behavior.

The troll may try to guilt you into becoming involved. "I know
we've had problems in the past. But I really need help now.
Couldn't we put aside those petty differences?" Or, "It's been
(months, years, whatever). Can't you get past what happened so
long ago? Or, "You know, holding on to your anger really isn't
healthy. Can't we grow beyond all that?"

People can change, you might think. It has been a while. But
unless you already have very, very strong evidence to the
contrary, bear in mind that trolls generally do not change, not
without a really radical cause and intensive therapy, which you
probably would have heard about. Your proper answer, to all the
troll's questions, is, "My energies are now going where I need to
have them go. Our association has ended. I'm sure you can find
what you need elsewhere."

"But no," the troll might answer. "You are the only one I can
turn to," followed by a hint at your particular skills,
accomplishments, attributes, knowledge, whatever the troll thinks
would make you feel flattered and respected.

You answer, "My energies are now going where I need to have them
go. I'm sure you can find what you need elsewhere." Then, "I'm
very busy right now, so I'm going to hang up. Good-bye."

Most people are reluctant to act in such a cold and harsh manner.
But politeness and concern are wasted on a troll. Such things
will be used against you, to prolong a conversation, in the hopes
of manipulating you again. Remember, all things in Nature must be
treated according to their innate properties. You do not submerge
a canary under water any more than you would try to balance a
goldfish on a perch. Providing concern and politeness to a troll
is no more appropriate than keeping a goldfish in a birdcage.

In the same way, you'd normally not invite a raccoon into your
home, no matter how cute its eyes are. Raccoons have very strong
teeth and very short tempers, are completely untamable, and will
feel no gratitude for your hospitality. Raccoons are not that
different from trolls.

=== Outliving a Troll

Someone once said, "The best revenge is a life well lived." The
worst thing you can do to a troll is to live a long and healthy,
happy life, unaffected by the troll's best efforts. They hate

But of course, you can't be entirely unaffected. Every experience
you have in your life helps to shape you, to shape your
consciousness and your ways of reacting to the world. You can't
really prevent a troll's vicious and irrational attacks from
affecting you in one way or another. What you can do, though, is
to choose what you do with the experience.

Nietzsche once said, "What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger,"
and there's some truth to that. Even uncomfortable lessons are
lessons nonetheless, and some of the most uncomfortable are the
most valuable. Many Traditions in the Craft include symbols of
this Great Truth. As Witches, we are asked if we're willing to
suffer to learn.

Nature isn't always kind. Ask any doe caught in a forest fire.
Nature can't always be controlled. Ask a farmer wiped out by a
draught. Some difficult truths can't be changed. Ask anyone who's
lost a beloved partner.

So, what is a good way to react to trolls? Use them to help build
community, and to help build networks of people you can trust.
Use them to strengthen Pagan organizations, making them more
flexible and more able to face challenges. Use them to help
cultivate in yourself more of a sense of serenity and acceptance
of the world as it is. When faced with a troll, call your friends
and loved ones, accept their help and support. Call on your Gods,
and let yourself be enfolded in Their warmth. When a friend is
being targeted by a troll, offer your ear and your love.

In a way, trolls serve a valuable purpose (The Books of Raoul
say, "Every ecosystem needs maggots"). They're a reminder that,
even as Witches, there are some things we can't change, some
aspects of the World we can't control, some facets of life which
are going to be painful, some pains which must simply be borne.
Trolls are an opportunity to learn and to grow despite obstacles
- no, because of obstacles. They're an opportunity to accept the
existence of destructive, as well as creative, aspects of the
Gods. They're a reminder to lean on your friends and loved ones,
and to rely on the peace and strength which the Gods provide. So
there is a sense in which the existence of trolls is beneficial.

But that doesn't mean you have to actually talk to them.

Much more could be said about various techniques of trollhandling
and trollspotting. Other Coven Leaders may have come up with
their own surefire methods of recognizing trolls, or of ridding
themselves of the critters, or avoiding them in the first place.
This is another possible benefit from networking: the chance to
draw on the experience of others. Start conversations on the
topic. Next time you find yourself dealing with a troll, you'll
be glad you did.

=== About the Author

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

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===== By Entwife

Large agile hands reach
with elongated fingers
to grasp the Sky,
and drink the Winds.
Ragged harp and violin voices
to the Winds'
like an orchestra tuning up...
like Hawks in the distance...
"In Sunlight
on a branch
I sit!",
Songs, like Prophecies,
"Lean Times Around the Corner!",
like the latest headline,
Save for the Needs of Tomorrow!" I warn.
They pass me by or flutter their feathers...
Seeming to heed me not.
While Time,
Predators and Possibilities
like Birds in the Distance.

Who Sings Now?


I had a funny bit of inspiration last fall that started me
writing this Singing series of poems. Each poem is inspired by a
Creature Teacher found in Nature, and at other sites I have
shared these works, everyone has a good time trying to guess who
is singing before they move on to the Totem portion of the

When we speak of Totems, most often we think of the many Animals
sharing the World with us. Yet, anything in Nature can be a Totem
with a lesson or message for us... winds,shells, trees, bodies of
water, stones, storms, mountains, stars. All of these can inspire
or teach us more about ourselves, our people, our world and how
we all interact. Thus far, this Singing series has focused on
Creature Teacher, although that may change at some point in the
future. The belief is that we are but one of the many People on
this planet and we have something to learn from All Our

We have a great deal to learn from the World around us if only we
would take a moment, apply our keen minds and open our hearts.
Native tradition refers to Totems, other spiritual paths often
use the term Power Animals, and I prefer simply Creature Teachers
when speaking about the many Wisdoms that our furred, feathered
and scaled cousins hold for us.

There are several different types of totems though. Birth Totems,
those whose influence we are born under in this life, rather like
Sun signs. Every Birth totem also has a Clan that it belongs to,
according to Native tradition, which requires some studying to
find and then understand the relation between one Totem and the

Power Totems are those that we choose to study and dedicate
ourselves to in this life, or in most cases, those that choose us
and expect our attention! Those that consistently appear in our
lives can be trying to teach us of our Mission in life or the
overall Theme of what we should be striving for, and sometimes
Totems appear in our lives simply to teach us a Lesson or deliver
a Message for that given moment in our lives.

Shadow Totems are usually those Creatures or aspects of Nature
that make us uneasy or that we outright fear, especially in an
unreasoning or phobic manner. Shadow Totems are there to help us
bring unresolved issues in our lives, this one or even past
lives, to a good resolution. They can help us heal, recognize our
own destructive tendencies, and better ourselves in ways that no
other Totem can! Do you fear spiders, for example? Then perhaps
what you really fear is deception, either self-delusion or the
lies of others. Each Creature Teacher carries their own Wisdom
and each casts its own Shadow.

For more on the nature of Totems I Highly recommend the works of
Ted Andrews, Jamie Sams, and David Carson as well as the website:

http://wolfs_moon.tripod.com/totemroles.html .

For all of these Creature or Nature Teachers though, the
transition from Intuition and Spirit, to Reason and Physical Life
is swift, natural, harmonious and powerful. As I said, we really
can learn a lot if we only listen and pay attention to the World
around us.

There is an old Irish saying, "We live in the shadow of each
others lives.", or as Chief Seattle said, "Humankind has not
woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever
we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound
together. All things connect." I first heard Chief Seattle's
words when I was about three and I've held them close to my heart
all these years. He was a wise and compassionate man who truly
understood that all things are sacred. " All things share the
same breath - the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares its
spirit with all the life it supports."

We could certainly use a leader like Chief Seattle today. He
didn't just understand these concepts... he lived them... and
encouraged Everyone to open themselves to the Beauty around us.
The best place to begin making the World a better place for all
of us is with our own selves, our awareness, our own hearts and
minds. When we realize that we are all in this life together and
that all of our choices affect more than just our own lives, that
is when we will truly begin to change the World for the better.
Can you guess which Creature Teacher is singing here? Your
guesses give me great insight into each Singer, and I'll post the
rest of the article after everyone who's interested has a chance
to guess. Please, share with me, let me know what you think and
I'll be happy to post more of the Who Sings Now? series. Enjoy!


"Too many times we stand aside and let the waters slip away, till
what we put off till tomorrow has now become today. So don't you
sit upon the shoreline and say you're satisfied. Choose to chance
the rapids and dare to dance the tide." The River ~ Garth Brooks

"With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do
everything." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
"Home is where we tie one end of the thread of life." ~Martin

Have you ever watched these audacious Creature Teachers? Squirrel
is willing to leap with faith and attempt any maneuver. In his
twinkling eyes, nothing seems insurmountable. When you feel
stuck, and ready to give up...think of Squirrel however you know
him best...red, black, tan, striped, or even flying! The type of
squirrel that you are drawn to, or that appears in your life
could easily influence the message they are trying to give you.

Squirrels belong in the rodent family, but contrary to popular
belief they rarely contract rabies, although they can carry other
diseases. Early spring is usually the hardest time for these
creatures as their buried nuts have begun to sprout and there are
no fresh ones to take their place. Most squirrels are known for
their nut-gathering and storing habits. Squirrels cannot digest
cellulose and rely on a high protein, high carb diet, although
they are omnivores and will eat various fruits, seeds, insects,
eggs and even small birds or mammals, frogs or carrion as well as
the traditional nuts. Neither peanuts nor sunflower seeds are
good for them though as it inhibits protein absorption and can
lead to a Metabolic Bone disease.

Because their teeth grow continuously, squirrels need to chew to
keep them sharp and a reasonable size. This is usually what
causes them to be thought of as "pests". To keep a squirrel out
of your attic or from chewing on things in your yard that you'd
rather he didn't' sink teeth into, try strategically placed
bundles of cat or dog hair. This tells the squirrel that a
potential predator patrols there and will help keep them away.
Hot pepper paste is also useful. Power outages are another common
problem caused by squirrels. Twice squirrels have been
responsible for power outages that have shut down the NASDAQ
stock market!

Squirrels are quite skilled at getting into hard to reach places,
getting what they need and getting back out again...sometimes
just in nick of time! Squirrels have also been known to co-
operate with others that have the same sense of adventure,
curiosity, and willingness to bond with others that may be
radically different from themselves. Anyone who has ever watched
a squirrel and a crow team up against a dog guarding a potential
food source knows just what I mean! They, like crows, will warn
other creatures of hidden hunters or other predators too.

"Learn to adjust yourself to the conditions you have to endure,
but make a point of trying to alter or correct conditions so that
they are most favorable to you." ~ William Frederick Book

"Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be
beaten, but they may start a winning game." Johann Wolfgang von

"Thrift comes too late when you find it at the bottom of your
purse." ~Seneca

Squirrel often appears when action and boldness are required.
However he also teaches us that Adaptability and Steadfastness in
equal measure are essential to survive through the harshness of
Winter. Like the ever-mindful Boy Scout of Nature, "Be
Prepared!", could easily be his motto. He often appears to warn
us that we will need to save up for the lean times headed our
way. Have you ever seen a squirrel looking for a nut he buried
before the snow fell? He also reminds us to "Gather only what you
need!" Fortunately, Squirrel's forgetful thrift benefits everyone
when a new tree grows from his absent-mindedness!

Are you hoarding unnecessary things or hanging on to memories and
emotions better laid to rest? Squirrel says, "It's better to
forget where that nut is buried, than it is to still be worrying
about it when you need to leap from that branch to the next Tree
to escape the Cat you didn't see sneaking up on you!"
"Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too
far." ~ Jean Cocteau

Bushy-tailed Squirrel can help you find your balance between
daring and prudence, or how to balance your needs and desires to
reach a happy compromise. Practical and bold, Squirrels and
Squirrel people tend to be homebodies too. They seek secure
places in which to build their homes as they will depend upon it,
as Squirrel does, to survive the metaphorical harsh weather and
the many clever predators encountered in life. Thus, Squirrel
often appears when there is something in your home that needs
attention. It could be something as simple as needing to spend
more time at home, it could be that you need to find a new home
altogether, or perhaps it is something in between. Home is our
refuge, our place to relax and re-energize and we should treat it
with respect putting only the best of efforts into the
atmosphere. After a hard day there is nothing quite so comforting
as closing the door behind me, taking a deep breath and saying,
"It's ok...I'm home now." If something or someone is distrupting
this atmosphere of safety and well-being, it is time to take
action! Remember though, it isn't the building that makes a home.
"A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love
and dreams." ~ Unknown
"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." ~ John Howard

"A penny saved is a penny earned."

"A place for everything, everything in its place." ~ Benjamin

He's not all warnings, cautions, and practical advice though.
Where there is one squirrel, there is bound to be two and it's
only a matter of time before they begin to play. Anyone who has
ever watched in delight as two squirrels chase each other must
know in their hearts that Squirrel plays just as diligently as he
works. As wise as the fabled King Solomon, little Squirrel will
sit on his sunlit branch in quiet meditation, content in knowing

"TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or
purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time
to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill
and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to
dance, A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones
together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to
cast away, A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep
silence and a time to speak, A time to love and a time to hate, a
time for war and a time for peace. ( Ecc.3)"

It is difficult to know "when" is the right time for "what", so
now is always good time to think about this wise, adventurous,
agile and bold Creature Teacher. When you are having trouble
finding your balance or hesitating between the many choices that
Life offers us, think about all that Squirrel can teach us and
how it applies to your life.

Balance, Trust, Confidence, Preparedness, Adaptability,
Faithfulness are all Squirrel Lessons. When working in harmony,
amazing feats of daredevil acrobatics can be achieved. Disharmony
might bring rash words or impulsive behavior that might make that
leap of faith through the air your last! Beware being too chatty,
impulsive words and actions, procrastination, nervous or
unfocused energy, clinging to things, thoughts, or emotions. Have
you lost sight of your goals? Are you moving in too many
directions at once? Maybe you just plain aren't spending enough
time at home! Squirrels are infamous homebodies.

Now is always a great time to clean house, either physically or
spiritually. Throw away the trash, give away the useful that you
no longer use and make room for something new in your life. Make
a plan, set goals, and finish what you start. Each day, be
grateful for all that you have achieved as well as all the gifts
in Life, and try to help someone else along their way who may be
struggling. Take the time to reflect upon the past year of your
life. Celebrate the good and try to bless the not-so-good and lay
it to rest as best you can. It is so much easier to move on in a
good and healthy way if we aren't weighing ourselves down

I certainly don't like to repeat Squirrel's more painful lessons,
although I'll admit I've felt that "splat!" on more than one
occasion in my own life! This is usually when I realize that I've
been traveling too fast to keep up with myself and make good
judgments. Sometimes it is a real effort to slow myself down too,
take the time to sit in the Sun, still my own chatter, and simply
contemplate all of my choices. How does Squirrel appear in your

"Home ought to be our clearinghouse, the place from which we go
forth lessoned and disciplined, and ready for life." ~ Kathleen

"Feel my squirrely wrath!" ~ Foamy the squirrel from the
neurotically yours videos

=== About the Author

Entwife has posted a number of these Animal Teacher poems on our
message board. Members try to guess who the teacher is from the
poem. When someone successfully guesses, Entwife adds the
commentary. Entwife hopes to publish the entire collection in an
exopanded form in a book in the future.

===== by Marilyn

=== General steps in reading cards for another person

1.  Choose which layout to use.

2.  Have the querent shuffle the cards.  For distance readings,
shuffle them while concentrating on the querent, their request,
and anything else you know of  them, including birth date,
location, picture or avatar.

3.  Lay out cards in the chosen order.

4.  First Look:

Look at the spread as a whole.  Take general notice of
relationships between the cards:  ratio of major to minor arcana,
upright to reversed cards, number and distribution of Court cards
and suits.

This is a very quick look, just getting a general impression of
how the spread appears on the surface.

5.  Second Look:

Each Tarot spread contains relationships of cards that are not
directly next to each other that can be helpful in understanding
the overall meaning.  For example, in the Celtic Cross spread,
there is a spiral pattern that is not obvious on the surface,
running from the base card through the crown, foundation, and
goal positions.  If these cards are related in meaning, it can
indicate that the client has a good understanding of their own
desires.  If not, it can be an indication that the client is
being unrealistic, or is not / has not put the necessary work
into accomplishing their goals.  Other spreads contain other
patterns which are often a matter of instinct to discern.

This look is also very quick, and serves as a guide when
interpreting doubtful cards in their assigned positions.

6.  Third Look

This is generally when I start talking.  This look is done in the
reading order of the cards, which is not always the same as the
laying out order.  I find it best to define each position for the
client as I go, and define each card as it relates to both the
question and the position.  Often the cards’ meanings and their
positions will each lead naturally into the next, especially if
the question is strongly represented in the reading.  Sometimes
they will seem disconnected or even in opposition to each other.
This can indicate a failure of concentration, a difference in the
expressed desire and the actual desire, or a situation in which
the lay-out chosen is inadequate for the complexity of the issue
being read.

7.  Review:

Once I've gone over the reading aloud for the first time, I will
often go over it again, stressing the lines of connection between
the cards or pointing out where they don't connect.  I will ask
clarifying questions and use the answers I get to narrow down and
refine the information coming up.  Ideally, I will be able to
identify a strong line of connected meanings within the spread,
but if I can't, I can't.  One spread is often insufficient to
fully analyze a situation.

8.  Comments and Questions:

At this point I will invite the client to comment on what I've
said so far.  Questions usually come up.  If they are to do with
specific cards and positions a satellite spread can often help.
This is usually one or more cards placed on top of the confusing
card or position and read in relation to the original card.  If
this doesn't help I make a (mental) note and go on with
discussing the rest of the reading.  Sometimes a discussion of a
later card will clarify what was confusing about an earlier one.
Once we have extracted as much of the  meaning as possible from
the spread I gather up the cards, shuffle them, and hand them
back to the querent.

9.  Clarification:

We repeat the process using anything about the first reading
which still needs clarification as the new question.  If the
first reading is clear we can go on to reading specific things
that came up in it, or go on to a completely new question.

=== Distance Readings

In a distance reading, the back-and-forth between the reader and
the client is impossible.   This means I must make more intuitive
leaps, and give correspondingly more complex explanations in
order to cover as much detail as I can, in the hopes that there
will be enough information revealed to be helpful to the client.

For distance readings, I will include in the reading price of the
more complicated spreads the option to ask up to three questions
after the client receives their reading.  This is as much for my
own benefit as the client's, since I don't feel 'right' if the
reading feels too vague or unhelpful to me.  Of course, that
decision is up to the client.  Most of the time I don't know the
relative importance of the things I see in the cards, but the
client does.

=== About the Author

Marilyn is a professional Tarot Reader and a member of the
Message Board staff at The Cauldron.

===== by Caelum Rainieri

This essay is about the inherent challenges that face Pagan
Reconstructionists of every stripe, albeit to greater or lesser
degrees depending upon the ancient civilization that they're
studying. Whether they are Kemeticists, Hellenics, Asatruar,
Celtic Recons, Neo-Druidic Recons, Sumerian, Finnish-Slavic, or
Aztec Recons, each must consider (at some point) how they can
best know what the available evidence says about an ancient
culture's religious beliefs. Their answers will inform you about
how they define the word, which can and does vary from
Reconstructionist to Reconstructionist. For more information on
the different Reconstructionist movements, see The Cauldron's
Reconstructionist index here

One thing that all Reconstructionists can agree on is that any
effort to reconstruct an ancient religion must begin with primary
source material (i.e., original records written in the native
language of the culture being studied). If there are gaps in the
primary record (and there almost always are), we then move to
secondary sources, which typically are the published works of
highly regarded researchers including archaeologists,
anthropologists, art historians, etc. The next stop may be an
examination of neighboring cultures, and then on to similar but
non-neighboring cultures. As one moves further and further away
from primary source evidence, the gap between what we "know" and
what we "speculate" becomes greater and greater.

=== The First Challenge - Lack of Primary Source Material

Speaking as an Aztec Reconstructionist, one of our greatest
problems is a lack of primary source material thanks to the
colonialization of Mexico by the Spanish in the 16th century. The
Spanish invaders destroyed most of the native manuscripts for
containing content that they deemed was heretical, obscene or
immoral. Today, there are only about a dozen manuscripts in
existence that are thought to pre-date the conquest, and they're
all written in pictographs (Boone, 2000). As far as primary
source material goes - that's it.

The Neo-Druids and the Asatruar have similar problems. In the
case of the Druids, they were an oral tradition so there never
was any primary source material having to do with the tenets of
the Druidic religion. As far as the Asatruar and their study of
the old Germanic tribes, there is nothing that was written before
the 13th century, long after the conversion of that region to
Christianity. If there is little or no extant primary source
material, then how reliable can one's attempt at reconstructing
an ancient religion truly be?

=== The Second Challenge - Issues of Translation

Unlike the Aztec and Asatru Reconstructionists, the Hellenic
recons, for example, have a wonderful supply of classical Greek
material to draw from. The next issue, regardless of how ample
the primary sources are, is one of translation.

The British historian and Greek scholar Brinley Roderick Rees
wrote an essay entitled "Some Thoughts on Translation" (Greece &
Rome, 2nd Ser., Vol. 21, No. 2 (Oct., 1974), pp. 111-127) which
should be read in its entirety, but since it is 17 pages long,
here are a few of the relevant bits:

     "The history of classical scholarship bears the traces of
     many a violent battle over the theory and practice of
     translation. What is a good translation? For that matter,
     what is meant by "translation" anyway? ...(H)ere is a rough
     attempt: 'a rendering of something written in one language
     into another which does not misinterpret the meaning or
     sacrifice the feeling of the original.' This is a tall
     order, and many would maintain that it is quite impossible
     to fulfill it. 'Everything suffers by translation except a
     bishop', wrote G. K. Chesterton; many others have made
     comments just as pungent on the efforts of translators. Most
     succinct of all is simply, 'Traduttori traditori'; in a way,
     the Italian catchword is irrefutable: every translation is a
     kind of betrayal of the original, since the meaning of a
     word, of a phrase, of a sentence is inseparable from the
     linguistic medium employed to express it. A word in one
     language is just not the equivalent of a word in another."

Some Reconstructionists make an effort to learn the ancient
language and do their own translation; however, as Rees so
eloquently points out, translation is not simply replacing one
word with another. Considering that today's Reconstructionist is
struggling to understand the religious practices and beliefs of
long-dead civilizations, how accurate can ANY translation really

Then there is the problem of "gloss"; i.e., the influence of the
translator upon that which is being translated. Take, for
example, the word "Wyrd" as it's used in the Asatru religion.
Many Asatruar rely upon this word to define their understanding
of the Old Germanic concept of fate or destiny. However, the
famous German historian G.W. Weber has demonstrated that the word
should not be used to represent what the Germanic people believed
fate to be. The obituary "Gerd Wolfgang Weber (1942-1998)" signed
by Lars Lönnroth and appeared on alvíssmál 9 (1999), pp. 93-94
(electronic edition here:
http://userpage.fuberlin.de/~alvismal/9obitgww.pdf) says:

     "His doctoral dissertation, Wyrd: Studien zum
     Schicksalsbegriff der altenglischen und altnordischen
     Literatur (Bad Homburg 1969), supervised by Klaus von See,
     also reveals to some extent the influence of Turville-Petre,
     but it is at the same time an independent, learned, and far-
     reaching study in Germanic philology, dealing with the idea
     of fate in early West Germanic and Old Norse texts. Weber
     demonstrates that the concept of wyrd is not genuinely or
     exclusively Germanic, but rather is influenced by classical
     Roman and Christian thinking, transmitted to Anglo-Saxon
     writers through Latin texts such as De consolatione
     philosophiae by Boethius. The dissertation shows that Weber,
     even at the earliest stage of his career, was able to deal
     with a variety of Germanic and Latin sources and draw
     critical conclusions from many kinds of philological and
     literary evidence."

Then there's this from Rudolf Simek's "Dictionary of Northern
Mythology" (1984 German edition, 1993 Eng transl) refers to G. W.
Weber's "Wyrd" (Bad Homburg, 1969) when he writes:

     "Weber has been able to show that the expression 'wyrd'
     (which glosses Latin 'fortuna') is unlikely to hand down
     heathen-Germanic thought, but rather a medieval view of the
     world based on late Classical-Christian beliefs, and
     therefore ought not to be brought as evidence for a belief
     in fatalism among Germanic peoples."

=== The Third Challenge: The Observer Effect

This challenge is of particular importance when the secondary or
tertiary source material consists of observances by third parties
to the religious or ritual behavior of the studied group. This
has been referred to as "The Observer Effect", and scientific
literature on this topic has established that in virtually every
area of human judgment, such observer effects have a relentless
and sometimes dramatic effect on the accuracy of results. A
compelling argument for this phenomenon and its role in Forensic
science can be read in "The Daubert/Kumho Implications of
Observer Effects in Forensic Science: Hidden Problems of
Expectation and Suggestion"  by D. Michael Risinger, et al,
California Law Review, Vol. 90, p.1, January 2002.

Risinger summarized the scientific history of Observer Effects at
the 2007 Forensic Bioinformatics conference
http://www.bioforensics.com/conference07/Observer/index.html) as

     "Scientists since that time have learned that observer
     factors can distort findings and produce misleading
     conclusions in myriad ways not so easily corrected for. The
     following are illustrations from a variety of fields.

     Sir Isaac Newton failed to report absorption lines in the
     prismatic solar spectrum, though they would have been
     clearly visible with the apparatus he was using. The most
     likely explanation for his failure to see them is that he
     held theoretically based expectations that such phenomena
     should not exist. Because he believed they did not exist, he
     failed to see them, or at least to note their presence.

     While Newton failed to see something that did exist,
     scientists of the early twentieth century saw something that
     did not exist. First reported by Rene Blondlot in 1903, "N-
     rays" appeared to make reflected light more intense. So long
     as they were believed to exist, the effects of N-rays were
     "observed" by many scientists. Of course, once it was
     determined that N-rays did not exist, their effects ceased
     to be observed.

     Observer effects also have been found in the reading of
     scales. That is, people do not always read dials and other
     readouts correctly, and their errors are nonrandom. Certain
     numbers or patterns are more likely to be "read" than
     others, resulting in systematic errors in the data read from
     the measuring instruments.

     For many years, laboratory technicians who counted blood
     cells visually were taught that correct counting would keep
     blood cell counts within a certain range of variation. In
     1940, using a more accurate photographic method to count
     blood cells, researchers discovered that for years
     technicians had been reporting blood cell counts that were
     within an impossibly narrow band of variability. The
     technicians made observations consistent with the
     expectations they held, but inconsistent with reality.
     Mendel's counts of characteristics in pea plants came much
     closer to the theoretical predictions than is likely to have
     been possible. Mendel or his assistant either deliberately
     misreported, or were the victims of observer effects induced
     by expectation.

     One medical researcher found observer errors in the use of
     the stethoscope in cardiac diagnostics, leading him to
     suggest that physicians as well as their stethoscopes needed
     to be calibrated. Another medical researcher, after finding
     medical students observing quite inaccurately when presented
     with two x-rays of hands to study, concluded that "our
     assumptions define and limit what we see, i.e., we tend to
     see things in such a way that they will fit in with our
     assumptions even if this involves distortion or omission."

     A writer on marine biology, reflecting on problems of animal
     observation, commented that scientists may "equate what they
     think they see, and sometimes what they want to see, with
     what actually happens."

     These realizations and attention to them have evolved into a
     "science of science," a careful study of the causes of the
     random and systematic errors induced by observer effects and
     the methods for their prevention."

With this in mind, it's clear that even the trained eye of the
anthropologist cannot be counted on to provide an accurate and
unquestioned account of the practices of contemporary descendants
of ancient people, nor are ancient historians exempt from the
same phenomenon.

=== Conclusion

Regardless of how diligent and well-meaning Reconstructionists
are in their own practice of an ancient religion, they are not
exempt from the three challenges which I've laid out in this
essay. That is not to say that the entire process of Pagan
Reconstructionism is flawed and therefore should be tossed out in
favor of unrestricted personal speculation. Quite the contrary!
As an Aztec Reconstructionist myself, I still believe that the
best policy in working with ancient religious beliefs and
practices is to begin with the best evidence available about what
the ancient people believed, and proceed from there. However, our
attitude in doing this work must be one of tolerance, not
intolerance; humility rather than ego; an assumption that one
cannot know the complete truth, rather than the assumption that
there is only one true way of practicing a reconstructed
religion; and finally, that even the most skilled academician
and/or the most adept priestess, priest, or shaman is not exempt
from the "Observer Effect".

=== About the Author

Caelum Rainieri writes The Aztec Reconstructionism blog at
www.aztecreconstructionism.com, and is the owner of the Yahoo
group Totemic Witchcraft and Live Journal community Tribal
Paganism. He is also the co-author of the book and card deck "The
Nahualli Animal Oracle" (Bear & Co., 2003).

===== by Mike Gleason

Llewellyn's 2008 Magical Almanac
by Llewellyn staff
published 2007 by Llewellyn
Paperback 384 pages
ISBN: 0738705535
See This Book at Amazon:

Llewellyn has once again produced their Magical Almanac, and once
again the wide diversity of the articles is the main draw.  As is
traditional with this annual, the articles are broken into four
broad categories (on for each of the traditional elements).  Each
of these categories is introduced by a short article explaining
the season and its relationships.

These introductions are then followed by an average of 14
articles by a number of different authors (there are 39 authors
represented in this edition).  With that many viewpoints and
areas of interest there is sure to be something here of interest
for everyone.  Some views are very much orthodox and mainstream
and some caused me to raise an eyebrow and mentally ask "Huh?
Where did that come from?"

I certainly don't agree with everything in this book, but then I
never do. Some things contradict my personal experience; some are
far too "white light and love" for my taste, and occassionally
some are simply flat out wrong (from my understanding); having
said that, I still have no hesitation in recommending this
almanac.  Regardless how I feel about a particular author' s take
on a subject, I admire the determination it takes to put their
thoughts before the public.  It is easy to feel that you know
what is true; it is another matter entirely to put it together
coherently and ask others for their judgment on it.

I look forward to the arrival of this book every year for two
reasons.  The first reason is that I know there will be
information in here that I need to know (even if I don't know I
need it yet).  And the second reason is that know there will be
things that will inspire me to do further reading and expand my
own knowledge.

There is no need to read this almanac straight through, or even
in the order it is presented.  Feel free to dip into any section
at any time and read an article or two.  With 57 articles (not
counting the seasonal introductions) you are sure to find days,
weeks, or even months of interesting reading between the covers
of this book.

The price is certainly bearable (little more than a couple of
gallons of gasoline, or a pack of cigarettes).  The reliability
is a plus - you know it is going to be there year after year.
The book holds up well (I have several years worth sitting on my
shelves).  I really feel that it is a good value.

===== by Mike Gleason

Llewellyn's 2008 Witches' Datebook
by Llewellyn staff
Published 2007 by Llewellyn
Spiral Bound 144 pages
ISBN: 073870556X
See this book at Amazon:

Every year Llewellyn puts out a variety of calendars, datebooks,
almanacs, etc.  They all share a number of similarities:  each
daily entry will give you the moon phase and sign, a color
associated with the day, and any significant
astronomical/astrological events.  Each of these publications
will also include short bios of the contributing authors and a
list of eclipses, Full Moons, and planetary retrogrades.  This
one also includes a table of Moon Void of Course data and a few
pages for a phone book.

I always look forward to the Witches' Datebook.  It doesn't
contain any earth-shaking revelations, nor is it filled with what
we once called "mystic, trystic b.s."  In all the years I have
picked up copies of this book (dating back to at least 1999) the
price has not increased appreciably (to be honest, it has gone up
in price - from $9.95 to $9.99).  There is something to be said
for consistency.

Each month includes an article on the moon in a sign and either a
recipe or data on the Sabbat which occurs in that month.  There
are also stories, poetry, illustrations, etc., which occur on the
odd numbered pages beginning on page 31.  These add a variety of
informational sources and inspirational ideas.

Some of the daily entries contain historical facts ((January 8th:
The birthday of MacGregor Mathers [of Golden Dawn fame] is one
example), while others contain bits of arcane lore .

There are also a few short articles at the beginning of the book,
which this year include "Magical Clothing", "The Sacred Flame",
"An Astrological Look at 2008", Faery Magic:  Best Times,
Places", and "Create and Use Thoughtforms".

You could read through this book, or you could skim the articles
and the 1/2 page informational inserts and save reading the daily
entries until you actually encounter them.  I have found, more
than once, that some note for the day ends up being particularly
appropriate when I come across it unexpectedly.

There isn't a lot of room for notes, as each day only takes up
about 5 square inches - and half of that is often taken up with
data already.  Of course, this can be an incentive to keep your
notes short and to the point.

One major plus for this book, as opposed to many of the other
almanacs Llewellyn produces annually, is that it is spiral bound,
so it is easy to lay it open and expect it to remain open.  It is
a bit more expensive than some of the almanacs, but I suspect
that the spiral binding is responsible for that.

===== by Mike Gleason

Llewellyn's 2008 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
by Lewellyn staff
Published 2007 by Llewellyn
Paperback 264 pages
ISBN 0738705594
See this book at Amazon:

The Witches Spell-A-Day Almanac (published annually since 2003)
is, in reality, my least favorite of the annuals brought out by
Llewellyn.  That dislike is based on a personal dislike of the
format they have used since the very beginning.  I like the
"folksy" spells; the recipes offered; and the notation of various
(sometimes obscure) observances.  The monthly introductions are
also enjoyable.  The problem is the formatting.

Each page is comprised of two columns, giving four columns per
two page spread.  Each column, potentially, contains one day's
information plus an inch or an inch and a half space for notes.
So far so good, but that doesn' t hold true on a consistent
basis.  Some days take a column and a half (or more) of space,
leading to some days starting in the middle of a column.  I would
simply like to see each day start at the top of a column to make
it easier to find a date.

The list of astrological icons and spell icons appear at the end
of the book, along with a short glossary, a list of daily
influences, and an explanation of the lunar phases and the moon's
influence in various signs. I personally feel that the icons
should be in the front of the book, but that is personal

Okay, enough kvetching about the format.  Each entry provides the
moon phase and sign, including transition times, as well as a
suggested color and incense.  There are also icons to identify
spell types.  There isn't a huge amount of astrological data,
except for the moon phases and signs, there isn 't any.  But this
annual is focused on spells, not astrological data.

Even though I am not fond of the formatting, I always enjoy the
prospect of learning something unexpected from this annual.  With
more than a dozen writers contributing their unique perspectives,
I am never disappointed.

===== by Mike Gleason

Isaac Newton's Freemasonry
by Alain Bauer
published 2007 by Inner Traditions
Paperback 146 pages
ISBN: 1594771723
See this book on Amazon:

Isaac Newton is best known to the work-a-day world as a scientist
who devoted his time and efforts to bringing enlightenment to the
world.  He was all of this, and more.  This book explored the
relationship between Newton and Freemasonry.  What gives it
unusual authority is the fact that Monsieur Bauer was, at the
time he authored this work (2003), the Grand master of the Grand
Orient of France.  This is a translation of his work, the
original of which was produced under the authority of the Masonic
Institute of France.

M. Bauer draws a needed distinction between secret societies,
which Freemasonry is, and occult groups as they are normally
perceived.  The secret rituals of Freemasonry are designed to
convey information, not magickal power.

One must bear in mind the difference between the scientific
worlds of the 17th and 21st centuries.  In the 17th century
astrology and alchemy were as much a part of scientific education
as string theory and quantum mechanics are in this century.  The
"scientific method" had not yet become a foundation of
experimental science.  Thus Sir Isaac Newton could write on
optics, gravity, and alchemical theory without fear of losing
standing in any of those fields.  It was not yet a time of
specialization in scientific endeavors.

Newton was instrumental in the formation of speculative (or non-
operative) Masonry, and saw it as a method of encouraging and
promoting free thought.

It is not necessary to be a Mason to appreciate the work and
research which has gone into this book.  In fact, in some cases
it can be advantageous to be an outsider.  There have been years
of propaganda, both pro and con, which have affected the
perceptions of Masonry.  Much of this propaganda has come from
anti-Masonic forces, but there has been disinformation put forth
by Masons as well.

The appendices, which form a large portion of this book consist
of a summary of the history of Freemasonry (both mythological and
scientific); lists of the Grand Masters of England (Grand Lodge
of England, Grand Lodge of York, Grand Lodge of Ancients, and
Grand Lodge of Scotland); a timeline of events leading to the
Grand Lodge of England; a timeline of the Grand Lodge of France;
and a dialogue between a Town Mason and a Traveling Mason, which
explains how Masons recognized one another.

========= HELL-DREAMS
========= 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:


===== Hell-Dreams

Many humans long to believe that they are right and other people
are wrong, that people will be punished for what they do that is
wrong. We like to believe that those that do right will be
rewarded and the rest will be punished, that the world is, in the
end, a just and fair place. It bothers us, sometimes, that those
we do like but believe differently may also be punished, and we
try to correct them to believe as we do, but all in all, people
like the idea that bad people are punished and that only other
people are ever the bad people.

An eternity of punishment, however, is not something that anyone
deserves, nor is it just, no matter what the crimes of the
person. Hanging a threat of future punishment later as the way of
justifying certain behavior now only encourages people to hedge
their bets and find ways to play both sides of the issue. Some
people will behave out of fear, but most people will simply do as
they will anyway, and rationalize their behavior in a way that
allows them to do what they would see as wrong in another, but
acceptable in themselves.

The other problem with believing in a life of punishment, whether
it's an eternal afterlife or karma giving someone bad lifetimes
until they learn, is that it takes the burden of judgement away
from the Divine and into the hands of mortals. It gives comfort
and smugness, knowing that those we like are going to be happier
and those we don't sadder. It doesn't serve any real purpose to
believe in such things. It doesn't make people good or keep
behaviors we don't like from happening. It just causes more
justifications and pain.

Hell, or bad karma, or whatever the horrid afterlife we might
wish upon other people, is simply something that isn't
acceptable. We have no right, nor cause, to speculate upon what
will happen to other people in the afterlife. We are all of the
Divine, all special and sacred to the Universe, and should be
treated as such, even when we disagree with the conclusions that
people come to. If we truly have faith in the Divine, we need to
also have faith that the Divine will choose to reveal Itself as
It sees fit, and that we cannot dictate how that will happen from
one person to the next. To do otherwise is to have no faith at

=====  Questions

  * Why do we wish bad lives or afterlives on other people?

  * Is there a more effective way to attempt to control people's
    actions? A moral way?

  * What advantage do we get by believing in afterlives we can
    control? Is it a false sense of control? What are the dangers

========= 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:



Ever wish that Windows Explorer — the file manager in Widows —
had a bit more power? Explorer XP is a freeware replacement for
Windows Explorer which adds many nice features to the familiar
Windows Explorer interface:

    * Tabbed interface - all your windows (open folders) will
    appear inside a single ExplorerXP application. The tab bar
    provides a quick access to all open windows

    * Easy access to My Computer, Recycle Bin , My Documents &

    * Drag & Drop with Explorer, the tab bar and special folders
    on the main toolbar.

    * Multy rename tool - allows to rename multiple files in one

    * Displays folder size information and the real size of
    compressed files & folders.

    * Folder Size Cache - greatly improves the speed of the
    folder size calculations between sessions.

    * Merge/Split Tools.

    * Advanced copy/move.

    * Unicode support.

    * USB devices support.

    * Clean - recursively removes files that match given list of
    extentions or wildcards.

    * Groups - A group is a collection of folders, which users
    are able to access quickly or drag & drop files to them.

    * Configurable keyboard shortcuts.

    * Small download size - only 410 KB.

While Explorer XP is not Total Commander or Directory Opus, it is
a powerful file manager in a freeware package.

Operating System: Windows 2000/XP
Price: Free
Web Site: http://www.explorerxp.com/


ImageTasks is a jack of all trades image application that might
be especially useful for anyone making HTML image ablums as it
can batch process images and then generate an ablum ready to be
uploaded to your web site. From the ImageTasks web site:

    ImageTasks is a powerful tool for editing, adjusting,
    converting images. It also includes Batch Edit for processing
    large sets of images, HTML Album for generating albums ready
    to be published on the web and Desktop Extensions for
    customizing look and feel of your desktop.

    Image Adjusting features include hue, saturation, brightness,
    contrast, color balance settings, resize, cut, rotate, flip
    and watermark tools and 12 graphic filters (blur, sharpen,
    place in frame e t.s.). Batch Edit makes it easy to apply all
    this settings and filters to a large sets of images.

    ImageTasks supports 15+ graphics formats and can save your
    images as JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG and BMP. Also provides a full-
    featured HTML Album generation tool and templates.

Operating System: Windows XP
Price: Free
Web Site: http://www.imagetasks.com/


It happens to me almost every day. I want to save a file in my
Data directory on my D: drive, but the program insists on
starting the save dialog with the My Documents directory buried
deep on my C: drive. I have to click and click and click to get
to the directory I want. Folder Guide allows me to select my
favorite directories for a “Folder Guide” submenu which is added
to the right click menu of open and save dialogs. This way, when
I need to change to one of my favorite directories, I just right
click and select the directory from the Folder Guide men and the
open or save dialog instantly changes to that directory. It saves
a bit of time — and a lot of frustration.

Key Features as listed on the Folder Guide web page:

    * Quick access folders in Open/Save As/Browse dialogs.
    * Quick access folders in Windows Explorer and the desktop
    and the Star button.
    * Easy to add folder to the list of “Folder Guide”.
    * Easy to edit or reorder folders in the list of “Folder
    * Runs automatically as part of the context menu.
    * 100% Spyware FREE.

This freeware program just works and is well-worth the time to
download. Unless to are lucky enough to only use programs that
allow you to set standard directories for their open and save
dialogs, this program is almost a must-have.  It even works in
Word 2003 dialogs.

Rating: 5.0
Operating System: Windows XP
License: Freeware
Price: Free
Version: 1.1
Web Site: http://www.freeware365.com/desktop/folderguide.htm

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

Timing: Perform on a Friday during the waxing moon.

    * 6 rose petals
    * 1 teaspoon of lavender
    * 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
    * a rose quartz
    * 6-inch square of pink cloth
    * green ribbon (floss or yarn will do)
    * an inch of red ribbon
    * needle and thread
    * a penny

Place the petals, rose quartz, lavender, cinnamon, red ribbon,
and penny in the center of the cloth square. Gather the edges of
the fabric together and hold the pouch close to your heart. Then

    Venus, Queen of love, divine
    Bring the love to me that's mine.
    Perfect, he (she) and perfect, me
    Together we are meant to be.
    Venus, Queen of love, so warm
    Bring my love to me, without harm.
    Let nothing keep us now apart,
    Bring perfect love to fill my heart.

Still holding the pouch against your heart, fill it with loving
energy. Secure the pouch with the green ribbon to seal the spell.
Carry it on your person and sleep with it under your pillow. When
the lover comes to you, bury the pouch under a tree.

=== 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 Matrinka

=== Ingredients

Large jar of dill pickles
2-4 lbs cream cheese, softened and whipped so it's easy to spread
Thin sliced ham, enough to cover all of the pickles

=== Directions

Drain and blot dry the pickles.

Spread a nice, even layer of cream cheese on slices of ham. Wrap
around pickles.

Slice 1/2" thick slices and arrange on a platter.

For carrying, leave them whole and slice when you get to the

To add the final "frog eye" touch, you can garnish each with a
bit of pimento or a dot of cream cheese to make the eye more eye-

=== 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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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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