Babylon Bee Reveals Trump’s Campaign Strategy!

The Babylon Bee (kin to The Onion) has broken an exclusive: Trump’s 2020 Campaign Strategy!

Trump 2020 Campaign To Simply Air Unedited Footage Of Democrats Talking

Quote

“We were pretty concerned when Trump was tweeting those racially charged things the other day,” said one campaign strategist. “But now we’re in the clear again. I mean, he’ll say something problematic again soon. But we don’t even have to defend it. We just have to show people the Dems tripping over themselves to say something even crazier.”

Talk about a winner!

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A Second Calendar

I’ve written a little about this second calendar once before in another post.  As I’ve before mentioned, I have a liturgical calendar I already follow, but it is bound up with my life history dressed up in legendary-like form with certain dates also commemorating other beings as a reflection on that story, some of whose stories I have adapted for my purposes, some stories which I’ve written myself based on other sources.

That calendar is easy enough to work with in terms of adding on side practices, but it is bound up with very specific beings and difficult to incorporate other spirits and Powers into it, and I don’t think I should.

I don’t resonate well with any other existing calendars that I have read about in the pagan or neo-pagan realms, but I am experimenting with creating a calendar based on certain themes loosely associated with my first calendar which is in turn based on the Christian liturgical year from Advent onward.  The second calendar is not based on a particular mythic cycle, nor based on my specific life history because I want to open up some possibilities in terms of exploring other Powers to honor and aid me in my spiritual work.

It is basically secular, but not to the exclusion of spiritual activities or devotions.

I need the structure to do this psychologically, but I don’t want it to be too specific to a given pantheon or culture because I am still exploring Whom I may need to honor and aid me and, without neglecting my first set of spirits, I am constantly exploring potential sources for this work in both pop culture and Greek mythology which is what I am most familiar with besides Christianity and Christian-derived approaches.  Also, it may help me in dealing with practical issues which I struggle with.

This calendar is as yet very undeveloped, but I’m hoping to get some feedback on how I may improve it or regarding calendars in general.  This will be a very rough outline.

Here is what I’ve got so far for the second calendar for seasons:

The Resting (around November): themes of darkness, awaiting the light, rest.

Inspire (around Xmas): a time of creativity and a lighthearted attitude, themes of light

Jan 1 — New Year: A time of celebration in general.

Rapport (around Epiphany in the Christian calendar): bonding with friends, family, and spirits and gods. Cut out unwholesome relationships.  Nurture the self as well.

The Dreaming: a time of reflection corresponding with Lent.  Dream work, inner work, meditation.

The Sacrifice: A time to ponder personal sacrifices to be made and also dealing with inner pain.  A time of transformation and tearing down.  (I may need to rename this: I primarily conceptualize of sacrifice as giving presents, though depending on what this involves, sometimes that may involve pain.)

Love (in the sense of cosmic unity, attractive force, integration and reintegration) A focus on healing, growth and rebuilding.  Celebrate hope and life.

Mundane time — Focus on practicalities.  Take a break mentally from lofty thoughts and matters.

Halloween: honoring the dead and death itself.

Some of this is still based on my life in the sense of resonating with themes important to me and my past, and some of the themes will correspond with my cultural background at similar times of the year.  But there is no particular set of stories to go with it.  I wanted it to be open and flexible with the ability to incorporate ritual as needed and to explore Powers from a variety of sources as I am so called.

I also wanted it to be minimalistic without prescribed or elaborate rituals for a few reasons.  I already have a set of elaborate rituals, and as much as I love them, I don’t need any more than that!  I need a focus that can be minimalistic and simplistic to enable me to function spiritually in the absence of formal prayers and rituals, especially since I am OCD.

With this more secular approach to a calendar I can also open up possibilities of exploring Powers from more than one source or culture.  Should none of that work out, or should those relationships transition to new relationships over time, I could use the same calendar to focus on what I need and practicalities in the absence of devotional relationships or to provide a structure for working with new Powers as best works for myself and all involved.  Some Powers may be more fitting to work with at certain times of the year depending on what themes I am focusing on, but there should be flexibility.

Again, this is a very rough approach, and I may be adjusting dates and themes or adding and subtracting to what I’ve created so far, but that’s a start.  I hope what I’ve written is clear enough and to get some feedback or advice on this kind of approach.  The closest I’ve seen to this approach is secular adaptations of the Wheel of the Year.  Any thoughts?

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Blending Christian concepts into Paganism, My approach

Hello everyone! This is my current brainchild for my religious path (Which is constantly changing as I learn more). I’ve become very attached to the idea of blending Christian concepts and deities into my pagan path. Here are some thoughts (not terribly historical and very upg):

Mother Mary, God the Father and Jesus implanted in a wiccan? inspired mythology. It’s not a perfect trinity as I think of the Holy Spirit as The All/One that flows through all. It’s important to note that I believe their is a divine that flows through all and god/goddess are beings that have ascended closer to the divine but that because they probably care for us (and all things), They try to help us all become closer to that divine.
Jesus, to me, represents both the death, rebirth and eventually union with the Divine. His and Mary’s suffering speak to me that God/Goddess suffer with us during times of duress and horror. Imo he wouldn’t have died for our sins but to teach us that he suffers as much as we do (probably doesn’t apply to historical n christian Christ though).

But when it comes to the more Wicc-ish things I struggle with my theory. I can easily see Mary as a ‘neowiccan’ (for lack of a better term) Goddess with her son Jesus, dying and being reborn through the sabbats. But I can hardly relate to God the Father at all, which makes me feel like I should drop this altogether before I start developing a practice. He just seems like a totally foreign concept to me. I’ve tried relating him to loving fathers in my life (such as my own Dad and my maternal Grandfather) but he just seems so distant. I’ve even considered replacing him with the more feminine/neutral Holy Spirit. But it seems wrong to just drop him (despite, you know, all the other things I’ve thrown out the window).

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Depression and despair

Gratefully I can say at this time that I have not struggled with depression or relatively severe dissociation in months, but over the years I have had long bouts of depression that sometimes verged on despair.  There were lots of legitimate reasons for this most of the time, including a long history of abuse in my past.  In those time periods it is also easy to ponder the miseries of the world and other people and lose heart.  I still find it difficult to ponder the sufferings of the world even in my currently healthy frame of mind.

My spirituality is largely an attempt to wrestle with these issues.  Even my liturgical year represents a history of my life of falling into despair and dealing with abuse and the journey into a more fulfilling life.

I employ mundane means to deal with these problems in my own life, including medications (which have finally been adjusted after years to be a good fit for me), cognitive behavioral therapy, maintaining healthy friendships, and so forth.

My approach to deal with these things spiritually is my own, fitted for myself.  I have no doubt that my approach would not work for everyone in every circumstance, nor am I sure that everyone has a means out of despair unfortunately.  But I do wrestle with these issues.

My approach has been to cultivate devotional love: for my loved ones, for the world, for the suffering.  For my “good angels” and Powers and for the dead.  For my cat, and last but definitely not least, for myself.

This is not a stand alone remedy.  The mundane means are still important.  But I find it a help.  As someone sorely neglected growing up in terms of love and affection from parents and various other caregivers over the years, I needed love, to give it and to receive it, and I found it.  I found it in good friends and animals; I found it in myself.  At times I even found it in unusual spiritual resources through experiential encounters of the numinous, resources that I could not have conceptualized of before hand, and that I still have difficulty explaining.

So, among mundane means, that is partly how I deal with despair through religion, an intentional cultivation of the warmth and affection I need to give and receive.  Also, I keep in mind that so far as I know, no suffering lasts forever.  I am life affirming, but I am also death affirming in the proper context.  Additionally, as hinted at, I reenact my own history through the year and find release in that form of “liturgical drama,” if you will.  Whereas I was made to be subdued and of little worth growing up, in my own private sphere, I enact a triumph and a liberation at certain points in the year.  In my own private sphere of meaning and ritual action, I take center stage.  How different that is from all those years past.

Do you address these types of struggles through religion and spirituality?  What is your approach to finding meaning and hope in the midst of those struggles?

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A Graybeard’s Intro

Greetings,

My background goes like this: I found a book called White Magic on a table at a yard sale when I was maybe 13 or so, and… during that same time frame read my fist novel: The Hobbit. Together those exposures were compelling. I’ve sought after “real” magic ever since. My ongoing search for knowledge and useful instruction naturally overlapped with 1970’s Neopaganism and people within it, Golden Dawn literature and people who promoted it, and it’s various spawn (Crowleyana of course, and Wicca by extension, and other things), and every stripe of New Agey thinking and practice you can imagine. I’ve made of hobby Medieval literature, Natural Philosophy within it’s academic framework, and the more peripheral but related Grimoiric literature we still have, and have put just about all of that into practice to varying degrees at different times in my life.

The formal education I’ve taken in started somewhat late in life, and culminated in a Ph.D. at age 50. I trained for scientific research in psychology and neurobehavioral biology. After a couple of years of post-doctoral research I chose a teaching track rather then the research track. What I value most from that education today includes a deep appreciation for critical thinking, sound methodology, and the humility to acknowledge that no matter how strongly we might believe that a certain thing is true, we can be mistaken. Therefore, all truths I accept are working truths in form, and remain subject to change given good reason. Other than that, my understanding of psychology and the nervous system tend to inform my understanding of just about everything I do, and just about everything I care about. I continue to teach part time, while focusing evermore attention on the gift shop my wife and I co-own.

Most relevant to the theme of this site, I currently think of myself as a Derivational Pantheistic Pagan. My approach is derivational because I don’t embrace the eclecticism or reconstructionism that tended to define the 20th Century NeoPaganism in play most of my adult life. As a matter of personal preference, I reject all manner of anthromorphised deity. I don’t look to world mythologies nor extent dogmas for clues about my own spiritual nature. Rather, I look to the natural world as I experience it for personal inspiration, and use my own feelings of awe and wonder to define the sacred for myself.

I recognize spirit (non-physical yet interactive agencies), such as in the spirit of a given person (my own spirit for example), the spirit of a Nation, the spirit of an Age, etc., but I find no value in the concept of an immortal personal soul, neither of the reincarnating sort nor the moving on sort; that is, I’m comfortable with the idea that the degree of personal immortality available to me can be limited to the effects I create while I live, which can indeed resonate into the future. For example, if I’m kind or cruel to someone, my kindness or cruelty might change that person in some way that affects others, and so on. Effects of that natural can be understood to resonate into the future, so long as there is a continuum of interactive agents. But when that ends, so will all traces of my existence end.

However, part of my Paganism is that I assume/accept I am of the Earth, and nothing else. I don’t presume that I came from any other place or dimension, nor do I assume that I ever existed in any other form. By extension, neither do I presume will continue to exist in any form after I die. I know that to be a harsh notion for many, but I’m personally comfortable with it. Furthermore, I believe that mindset lends significant urgency to life I’m living, and more than sufficient reason to always strive to live it well.

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9/11/2001, 18 years ago today

So. I felt like I should start a threat for this. I dunno if there is already one, I looked and didn’t see one.

I am sure everyone here is familiar with what happened 18 years ago today, on September 11th, 2001; that was the day when Al Qaeda perpetuated a terror attack that cost the lives of nearly 3,000 people (2,996 to be exact).

It was a day that marked a major change in global, and American, culture. Everything changed on 9/11, to the point that “post 9/11 world” is now a commonplace term in political discussions.

However, amidst all the political and social ramifications of the attack, it is increasingly easy, as time goes on, to overlook the actual people who died that day.

So I started a threat here so that we, at the Cauldron, could honor their memory.

lit candle image

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Struggling – Religious “Crisis”

Good morning! Not sure if this is in the right place – it seemed the best fit as it touches several subjects.

I stumbled upon this forum in the midst of my religious soul searching and it seems the best place to post what I’m feeling to get some feedback. My feelings are pretty all over the place. This is going to be long, so thank you for reading patiently.

I was raised southern Baptist. I wasn’t initially allowed to read Harry Potter or watch the movies until my mom accidentally stumbled on the first movie on TV and fell in love with it herself. My extended family is deeply entwined with a particular church in the area as we have all been raised in that church. I’d say, outside of the younger generations, my mom and I were the only ones who didn’t really hold the full beliefs of that church – honestly, my mom was the sweetest, most kind-hearted, open minded, and supportive person I’ve known. She was my best friend.

No one in my family had ever been diagnosed with cancer before, so it came as a shock when, at 65, Mom was diagnosed with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma – bile duct cancer, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. By the time it was caught, it had spread to her liver and lymph nodes. Because her liver was in such poor condition – multiple large tumors – she could not undergo chemo, and she passed less than two months after her diagnosis on December 5th, 2018. Her last two months came with much suffering in many different ways, a fact that angers me and confounds me to this day.

A couple of weeks before she passed, a kind man from the church came to visit her to give her comfort and peace of mind. I think she was so receptive to him above others because of his kind nature. While they were talking, she turned to him and asked, “Why is this happening to me? Am I being punished? Did I do something against God?” I think, in that moment, my belief began to crumble. If my mom, who was a woman truly representative of the heart and soul of Christianity, of the kindness and compassion and forgiveness that’s supposed to be there, who never drank or married more than once or did anything that broke the “rules” of the church, felt like she had done something wrong to be punished for, then the world is doomed and my beliefs were shot.

I do feel a lot of fear about rejecting Christianity and finding a new spirituality. Not so much for myself – I worry for her, and for my husband. If I stop believing in God, what does that mean for Mom? Where is she if not in Heaven? I can’t imagine another place for her. I can’t bear the thought of there just being nothing after this and her being completely gone. The thought of never seeing her again, even in the afterlife, is soul-crushing. The same goes for my husband, who is alive and well, but no one lives forever. I can’t imagine only being with him in this short life and never being with him again after death.

I’ve always been drawn to things that the church was blatantly against, and mostly used music to “scratch the itch,” so to speak. I started with Marilyn Manson when I was growing up – I remember feeling guilty when I’d listen to “The Reflecting God” or “The Fight Song” because the lyrics were so blatantly anti-Christian. My current favorite band is Ghost, a band chock full of blatant (albeit satirical) Satanic imagery and lyrics. Music has always been such an extremely important part of my life, it’s my way of expressing myself and feeling and healing. If something that’s such a huge part of my life is the complete opposite of my belief system, then what does that mean for me?

While most of the music I listen to isn’t specifically “pagan”, I’m leaning toward paganism now. There are few “rules” to follow, it’s much more fluid than a more rigid and strict religion. I have changed over time, my beliefs have changed over time, thus my spirituality should be able to change and adapt over time. I’ve also desired some sort of ‘ritual’ to follow – I always admired that about Catholicism.

For myself, I’m comfortable reading more and seeing where this path takes me. But I can’t shake that fear, that “What if?” about the afterlife. It’s holding me back and keeping me stuck in crisis. I do wonder how my husband will take it, but we have both been on the same page religiously for a while – disillusioned with church but still believing in God – but I don’t see it being anything that will cause a rift in our marriage, it just might be concerning for him.

I’m sorry if my post was rambly; I tried to include any relevant information. I’m just not sure how to go forward at this point. Going back to the way things were would probably be easier, but I think it might be too late for that at this point.

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