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Overcoming Personal Skepticism and Childhood Guilt

To give a little background, I was raised in a strict Christian household. My parents were (and still are) missionaries to India. I even went with them to India on a missionary trip when I was 13. This was an unexplainable wonder and joy to me for so many reasons but also became a catalyst for my religious curiosity, much to my parents dismay. There was a moment on that trip when we had stopped at a store and I wandered into a small Hindu temple next door to it. I was enthralled, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so different from anything I had ever experienced. I felt thing

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Can Spirits Be Man-Made?

When I think of spirits (disclaimer: as a very "soft" polytheist, my view of supernatural entities in general is very loose), I tend to think of wild locations: the spirit of a river, a particular woods, etc. But can there also be spirits for things that wouldn't exist but for human effort? For example: Is there a spirit of Hoover Dam? Of the cities some of us live in? I tend to think the answer is yes, but I'm unsure of the permanence of such spirits, or how they "rank" relative to the spirits of natural phenomena. (On the other hand, what happens to the spirit of a West Virginia hollow des

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Your Faith in your Home Decor?

Do any of you have decor in your home that reflect your beliefs? Be it an alter, a cross, a statue, etc.? Message Board: Join in our discussion

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You're Gonna Show up to a Ritual in That? (Dressing up During Spells)

I want to talk about what kind of things a person can wear when they're performing their magick.For me, I think I want something that reminds me of the ocean - a symbol of where my energy is drawn and what I carry with me as I perform. Granted, I know you don't need anything fancy, but I'm really passionate about immersing myself into my practice, so I'd actually love to try and find more 'formal' wear, you know? What kinds of things do you like to dress up in? How often? Do you feel closer to your practice when you do? Message Board: Join in our discussion

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The Ethics of Tourism around Religious Sites

It is 3:08 am in Japan, still not quite recovered from jet lag.... So I went on my first little outing yesterday, and thanks to the wonderful ladies at the front desk (whose English sounds better than mine!) I was able to find the religious spots near my hotel. But here's where things get strange. I visited the Gasshoji thinking I would be fine to take a couple of pictures, but when I walked in, I saw the cemetery and realized "this is where people keep their dead. People WORSHIP here." Not only that, but it just had this aura of a place where I should not take pictures. It just didn't seem a

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Your Personal Book List?

So some discussion in chat and a recent thread led me to ponder the following question: If I were to recommend, say, twenty books to someone so that they could become enlightened about my religious/spiritual practice or background, what would they be? And that struck me as an interesting thread, so I'm starting the thread. If you had to recommend twenty books to give someone guidance about your religious life, what would they be? (Note, I'm not asking "What are your twenty pagan religion recommendation" books, though I expect that a chunk of most people's lists will have pagan books relevant

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Link Between Maturity and Spirituality?

I seem to have noticed in the past year or so that the teenagers that consciously chose a religious (or nonreligious) path for themselves (without doing it to piss off family) seem to be more emotionally mature than their counterparts who have not done so. It doesn't even have to be that they're concrete in the specifics, only that they've made the decision to begin searching. My questions are these: 1. For those of you that spend time with teens (or are teens yourselves), do you notice this at all? 2. Do you think that teens who pick their general spiritual paths now do so because they are

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Peculiarities when you use Tarot/Oracle Cards

I have really, really gotten into Tarot the past couple of days. I'm using my Hanson-Roberts deck, which my parents gave me (best stocking stuffer EVER!). Even within just this past couple of days, I've noticed my reading seems to be forming a "style." And I am gaining more personal interpretations of some things. So I'd like to hear about similar experiences from others. Since all my divination is a conscious effort to ask the counsel or opinion of either Sarasvati (using oracle cards, tarot, or a pendulum) or Loki (runes), I think I'm having to work out some kinks in using them. Like, I'll

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If you could give your past self advice...

As I've been dipping my toes in witchcraft more, I've also been thinking about the start I got in it when I was 14 that led me to quit for a long time. If I could give my younger self any advice now, it would be to stay way, way, WAY far away from summoning and to not rely entirely on my friend as a learning resource (as he was also learning). If you could go back to speak to yourself when you began practicing, what advice would you give? Message Board: Join in our discussion

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Finding Religion?

Throughout my life, I have participated in more than one religion, and many variations of the ones I have tried. I see this as a natural part of attempting to find my own truth and way. I know there are folks that say "There is only one right way" as pertaining to various things, and others that say that whatever works for the individual is fine ... and then there are all the degrees in between. I have been, throughout my life, one of the "just winging it" sorts, who was very solitary and very internal. I find I am at a spot in my life where I want to change that, at least a bit. Perhaps a bi

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The Cauldron’s web site sprawls over two domains and many subdomains. The material on is older and the material on is newer. holds material from 1998 to 2010, with several styles and page designs — some of them dating to the turn of the century. We tried to update this site in 2010 to bring it up to more modern HTML standards and improve the design. However, as each of the thousands of pages needed to be redone by hand, the one person trying to do this was soon overwhelmed and gave up. In 2011, we decided to leave as it was and simply start a new site — this site — on Our sites have a common front page and all the material on the old site is linked to from the new site so we really have one big site spread across two major domains. If the site design shifts from something new and modern to something old and poorly designed, then you are on our old site. We apologize for doing things this way, given The Cauldron is a hobby with no budget for updating thousands of old pages, we figured it was better to keep the old material available in its old and not very beautiful form while placing new material in a modern state of the art in 2011 web site. Thanks for putting up with this.