Been a Long Road

Hi there.

I am the Mandi of the interwebs.

I showed up a very long time ago and not so long ago yesterday.

I’m getting that this is where the description of faith and all that good stuff goes.

I was Chaos before chaos was cool.  Which before I knew it myself was frustrating for all involved and probably resulted and still does result in some conflicts.  Some people are not gonna be cool with that and that’s okay.

I got so frustrated by the trappings of some rituals and faiths that for a minute I went back and reexamined Christianity.  Catholicism even.


But Chaos doesn’t doesn’t really differentiate between faiths.  It just is.

So after some thought, I theorized that the only road to the uninterrupted current, the straight juice on belief, is through the belief you had before your grown up self took it apart because in some way it failed and the pain was crushing.

So childhood belief, when God was still good.

Gotta say.  It’s both a discipline and a rush.

This was about ahhh ten years ago.

I realized that I wasn’t looking for a new religion.  I don’t need a new name or nationality for god or another creation story.  Goodness knows I checked under enough rocks.

I was looking for a magical practice or more so the loophole by which what I already did FIT.

But over time I came to realize…

God never as far as I can tell has shown any displeasure with the nature of my being.  Actually if I were to be really truthful I’d have to say anything I’ve been successful in, from that little voice that says “brakes” or “pull your hand back” may not be premonition originating in the self but guidance from that which I cannot know which has resulted in my ongoing wellbeing.

Maybe I’ve learned to be less self important occasionally.

I have an old acquaintance on social media from the high school days yapping away with seasonal intolerance.

Break out Kois Christmas article…

This individual won’t directly confront but continues to kvetch about stolen holidays.  They’ve got me pegged as the type of Christian that lives inside their heads.

Which got me thinking about the good old days and how this is a haven compared to some of the less orderly places on the internet.

I’ll wait to get to know and reaquaint before going in all deep and greyfaced but I am very pleased to see some people I have always held in regard even when it wasn’t entirely mutual alive and well.

Where have the years gone?

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Goth Giraffes: The AI weirdness blog

I stumbled on this hilarious blog that is all about the weird and humorous results that neural-network AIs can produce. The blogger sets up all sorts of tasks for the AI, from halloween costume ideas (hence the goth giraffes) to knitting patterns, and if (like me) you enjoy absurdist humor, the results are glorious. It’s fascinating how the AIs can appear so smart and so idiotic at the same time.

I think my favorite so far is the hat-themed Harry Potter slashfic.

There was also a link to a text-generating AI that anyone can give a prompt to. I fed it the first few words of the Charge of the Goddess and this is what I got:

Listen to the words of the Great Mother,
One of the greatest books ever written, a major work of literature, one that will affect every adult with a passion for science and thought, science and religious thought, and science and science fiction.
I know that there are many scientists in America today who are interested in what Pope Francis had to say and how important this book is. I know that the tenacity of American science and the outstanding accomplishments of our scientists continue to surprise and delight our entire nation.
There is a great, and quiet revolution happening in the

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old a thorn in the flesh of whomever dared defy her.  Black sublimation is one of the secrets of the God is required to wield her true power.
Step 2
At this point you want to cast the  Magma weapon or Summoner’s Water Song.
Step 3
Use the Gather Information spell to find out how many of the fragments are actually in the Library and whether or not they are enough to do what you wish for them to do.
Step 4
Cast the Black

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called Artemis, (and I wonder) why she bade such Things for Her children, being old and sore distressed: and in all her speech she has a hint of the word Proserpine: for She says, ‘Let her child’s one trouble be as one of its utmost need.’ So after she had spoken she says to me, ‘Ye nymes, we do not quite love her. She is in her power the mother of our enemies, the magistrates and rich man; and her name

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Ideas for Solstice

Hi everyone!

It was roughly a year ago that I joined the cauldron. At the time, I identified as a lifelong Christian who was seriously struggling to reconcile with the claims of Christianity. I was wondering if the Paganism umbrella might be a better fit for me. I began exploring and practicing and celebrated my first solstice, privately, in my own way; while still participating in my family’s Christian celebrations.

This year has been amazing. I have done some light reading about a few Neopagan traditions, but mostly I’ve just allowed myself the freedom to express my spirituality in what ever way felt right (an amazing freedom I had never experienced until this year!).

My husband is now doing the same, which is unexpected and interesting. We now find ourselves without many holiday traditions that still fit. We will continue celebrating with our families and feel comfortable navigating that, but want to find some new traditions for just us to celebrate Solstice. Any book or website recommendations with ideas that are meaningful but not super religious in nature (since we don’t belong to any religious tradition currently)?

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Initiation Offer – Advice

I’d like to preface this post by saying that I suffer from (minor) diagnosed social anxiety, and have noticed a slight paranoia when it comes to other people – some of the situations mentioned here might be coloured in this light, though I’ll apply as much self-awareness where possible in regards to this.

I joined a new pagan moot this last summer. They’re private, not pagan federation. I’ve posted about them before, and we differ in some views and approaches but otherwise seem to get on fine. However, at our last meeting initiation ceremonies came up for discussion. The general consensus was that initiation ceremony is essential for practising as a Pagan, which I take issue with but understand the value of to some extent. Others in the group also took some issue with it. Then I brought up my concern that, due to my isolated living place, I may not have the opportunity for an initiation for a long while. I was surprised when some of the group offered to train and initiate me themselves.

This, of course, is an amazing and unsought opportunity that I can’t help see as Spirit giving me a nudge to get active again – I’ve been in a bit of a hibernation of practice for a long time now. However, I really wanted to run this all by some other pagans, as I felt some red flags raised that are perhaps subjective and specific.

For one, I’m very new to this group. This is a smaller issue, because I do respect and trust most of them. There’s one individual who gives me off vibes, but most of them are lovely and supportive people.

The other was the intensity with which they valued initiation. I can’t take fault with that, but my vibe from it was that they might undervalue me as an individual for not undergoing that kind of training. I now feel that some kind of guidance is important, but I was planning to take the OBOD course. I’m now considering just starting the OBOD course, as I do trust them quite a bit and have heard good things. This brings me to my next concern.

They seem to practice a kind of paganism perhaps not right for me. They’re quite literalist in approach and practical, whereas I’m very much a day-dreamy meditation type more interested in peace-on-earth type work, rather than overt practical witchcraft. I’m concerned I’ll be focusing on a type of practice I’ve already had experience with and ruled out as not my cup of tea. They said it wouldn’t be path-specific training, but I can’t see how their approach could be alienated from training such as that. Maybe I’m approaching witchcraft totally wrong, but it seems to me more heavy, structured and maybe more intense than I’m used to. In reality, I may well be overthinking it and get along fine with that practice, it being a regional variation and different from what I’ve previously experienced.

In general, I feel much less encouraged or inspired by being in this group, than I have in previous ones. It’s not that they aren’t inspiring people, but they’re not as connected I think with modern approaches to paganism and so tend to value traditional ways of being. One of the early texts I read in paganism was feminist witchcraft books, whereas one of the members recently sort of denied the gender-based issues previously extant in pagan circles in the 80s (which I only know about because one of the women there talked about it).

I’m also very cautious of bringing myself into too heavily literalist approaches, because I have certain mental illnesses in my family that I’m always careful about. There’s nothing wrong with literalism, but I know my own mental space and how delicate it can be. When I brought up the issue between my OCD and religious ritual, where I have to draw the line for my health and wellbeing, one of the members heavily downplayed my concerns and seemed condescending to me, but again that may be my social paranoia reading into it.

I get along well enough with the group as friends, however I’m not sure I feel comfortable with something this intense. The tone, however, is that it makes no sense to call myself pagan without this training. It’s a tone I’m sceptical of, yet to a certain extent I agree that having a stable structure would give me both more confidence and power as an individual. I also can’t deny that I’d benefit from having a teacher in-person, as opposed to seeking the OBOD course and having an online mentor.

To a certain extent this is a personal decision. But I wanted to run this by other pagans because it would be valuable to see if others feel those concerns to be red flags too, or if I’m overthinking things. I might well be projecting my own insecurities about having the right to call myself pagan, when I practice so little. They’re a really friendly group who celebrate variety and difference in practice and belief like any group I’ve been in. They know I’m interested in Druidry and would never ask me to practice anything else. I think they’re just trying to be helpful, and the second initiator I get along with just fine and admire quite a bit.

I’ve tried to keep the details of this as anonymous as possible for obvious reasons.
Thanks to anyone with advice or insight.


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Holiday Advice

So this might be really stupid to ask, but my family is getting ready for Christmas (we’re all Christian), and one of our guests is Pagan (“Closer to Wiccan than anything”). Christian stuff kind of seems to make them uncomfortable, but they’re too polite to say. I was wondering what, if anything, we could do to help them feel included, and have a nice time.

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Hi, I’m Mayonaka (meaning Midnight). Most people call me Mayo for short though.

I’m 23, Christian, and AFAB. I’m Non-binary, I don’t really have any preferred pronouns but most people use she/her or they/them for me. I’m a cat lover, with one cat, named Becky.

I mostly joined this forum to ask some questions, learn some things, and maybe meet some new people. I like to think I’m pretty open minded and chill.

I like anime, video games, all that nerdy stuff. Also I like creepy things (scary movies, old dolls, etc.) even if I’m like the worlds biggest chicken. :D

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Countdown to a Cauldron event: Up All Night 2019 in a few days!

Start banking your sleep, folks–Up All Night, the Cauldron’s annual solstice celebration, is only a few days away!

You don’t know what Up All Night (UAN) is? It’s the one night a year (the longest night in the northern hemisphere, shortest in the southern) when Cauldron members gather together simultaneously via the miracle of modern technology–here in the forum, in chat, and in videoconference–to share our experiences, shoot the breeze, do a group meditation, post everything from pictures to music to recipes and other links–as we try to stay awake all night long!*

*No, you don’t have to be staying up all night, though many of us do! You can join the evening for all or part of it, contribute as little or as much as want. Whatever works for you.

So mark the evening of December 21 on your calendar–a Saturday night this year, so if you work a weekday 9-to-5 schedule, you can sleep it off on Sunday. It starts at sunset on December 21–that’s sunset wherever you are–and ends officially at the next sunrise.

I’ll post more details–this year’s non-theme, instructions for the Great Global Group Meditation–soon, but in the meantime…

what’s your #1 strategy for staying awake? Tell us what your trick is!

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Magic as political act

When she visited in mid-October after attending a wedding in California, my mother handed me the “souvenir ticket” from her visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum. I put it away and then took it out today to use in a ritual in honor of World AIDS Day: I wrote a spell on the back of it, then burned it and tossed the remains down with some trash.

The point is to throw energy against the institutional forces still driving homophobia and stigma today.

I’ve also thought of doing a reading of the Bacchae with magical intent, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Have you ever used magic for political purposes? Done a spell as a political act?

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