Imbolc Exchange 2019?

Is anyone interested in participating in an Imbolc Exchange this year?

If so, I’d be happy to coordinate (unless someone else wants to!), but not until early January. I’m super busy with Nutcracker until then.

If you’re not familiar with what an Imbolc exchange is, please search the term in the forum search function. You should find a yearly thread describing it.

~ Aster

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Up All Night: A Technopagan Solstice Celebration 2018

Hey, what is this thread? The night beginning at sunset on Friday, December 21, 2018, is the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. To celebrate the solstice (summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere; in the North, it’s winter solstice, a.k.a. Yule, Midwinter, and probably other things, depending on your tradition), a bunch of us plan to stay up all night and post here in this thread off and on throughout and/or chatter in chat, sharing our experiences or random thoughts…sharing photos or artwork throughout the evening…or just encouraging each other to stay awake!

So if you’re trying to stay up till dawn, or just want to pop in to converse with those of us who are, this is the place! Or if you’re lucky enough to be in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoying the warmth and sun of summer solstice, tell us what we’re missing!

In that spirit, here it is again, folks–that modest rhyme I composed specifically for our winter solstice efforts. Tradition dictates that I offer it as invocation to kick things off:

A WINTER SOLSTICE REVEILLE

by Altair

Light dwindles, life despairs
A bitter chill is in the air
The sun departs, and with it goes
A fruitful season free of woes
As winter’s icy grip takes hold
The sleeping landscape to enfold
Many hours of dark must pass
Before the sun returns at last
To make its long-awaited climb
With promise of a flowering time
Until that hour, let dark prevail
Greet longest night with strong wassail
Sing and dance, feast and drink
Or solemnly reflect and think
From strange and hidden wells partake
With one rule only: Stay awake!
From dusk till dawn, hear our refrain:
Let the solstice revels reign

[In the last line, swap in the word “vigil” for “revels” if the feeling is more contemplative than festive]

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Sacred Alphabets

I think most of us have heard of Runes, but there are many other writing systems out there that are or can be used for esoteric purposes.

Some religions, of course, have particular alphabets and/or languages associated with them – as a Kemetic I have hieroglyphs to work with (though honestly I only know a few). There are also alphabets used only for magic as far as I know, like Enochian.

Do you use a sacred or magical alphabet in your practice? Does your faith have a particular language connected to it?

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Daily Prayer

I was wondering about people’s daily practices regarding prayer, meditation, and related activities. I am thinking about doing a daily Metta prayer, well maybe three a day, morning, noon, and night. I was wondering about other people’s experiences, though. Specifically pagan practices, as I know that Metta is a Buddhist practice. Are there practices that are more “pagan-like” that you would recommend? I have had good experiences with Metta Prayer in the past, but might want to try something new or more “pagan” as well. Maybe I will read more of the Carmina Gadelica again.

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Learning About Kemeticism

So my focus has been on Celtic materials mostly, and I am fairly familiar and well-versed in that topic. Like most people, I have a basic familiarity with Greek and Roman pantheons. I could maybe do to learn some more about Northern Traditions.

That said, Egyptian Gods and Goddesses seem a bit foreign to me, kind of exotic. I don’t know much about Kemeticism, but it seems that it is a pretty active type of paganism. I looked briefly at the SIG below in the Cauldron Message Boards. I am interested in learning more about it as a beginner.

Does anyone recommend a main book for beginners? Or a main web site? I do not anticipate that I will use the information for religious practice, but rather to edify myself intellectually and learn about a new topic.

I would also ask those who practice this sort of religion: What drew you to it in the first place? What is the flavor and the meaning of the religion to you? I am interested in subjective and personal ideas about this topic. I just want to get the “feel” of the religion. Thanks.

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Daily Check In

I don’t know if this is an acceptable idea for a Thread for The Cauldron Forums. Other Message Boards that I have been on often have a Daily Check In Thread where Folks just stop in and acknowledge their day and check in with each other.

Anyway, it is Tuesday afternoon and I am doing my daily routine of checking e-mails, reading news online, listening to music. Let us know what you are up to today, if you like.

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Pets and your religious practice

Do you actively involve your pets living or deceased in your spiritual practices?  Or do you notice them interacting with your spirituality in any way?

I don’t actively involve my living pet in ritual, though I do keep deceased pets in my prayers and memories just like I do my loved ones who have departed.  It’s my way of remembering, honoring, and continuing to care for them.

I do notice my cat interacting with the rituals I do, though.  Pets learn our ways and habits.  For example, tonight while I was reciting my prayers I noticed him giving me the sweet eyes across the room.

Other times he sees me grab a prayer book, and he comes and snuggles up with me and occasionally looks up at me while I pray aloud.  He may think I’m talking to him.  I’ve noticed that he seems to have learned to stay off the table when I’m doing more active rituals as well.  Mostly what I’ve noticed is that when I pray aloud it seems to be very soothing and relaxing for him as it is for me.

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Diversity in advertising

I’m a big TV fan, but was never keen on TV advertising, except if it was clever and amusing.  (I’ve always joked that it’s brainwashing, and I’ll either fast-forward or at least mute the TV during the advertising breaks.)

But one thing it’s started to prove really good for lately is presenting images of diversity to the populace.  We’re starting to see lots more different sorts of peeps in adverts, who wouldn’t traditionally have featured alongside the skinny models and groupings of actors representing families with two point four children.  At least here in England.  And some of them have really positive messages incorporated in the advert.

In fact there’s even an advert made by one of the big high street banks which talks about how mental illness affects 1 in 4 at some point in their lives, and the fact it’s made by a bank is fairly subtle, considering.

Is this the case where you are?  Do you have examples of where it’s done well?  Are there also badly done examples, ones which make you cringe?

How do you feel about it overall?  It’s contributing to a gradually more tolerant society over time, isn’t it?  Or are there drawbacks that you can see?

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OCD and spiritual practice

If you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have you had this affect your spiritual practice?  Do you have any particular coping skills?

This is one of the more minor things I struggle with, but my obsessions tend to revolve around religion, and it started in childhood with thinking random and completely harmless behaviors were sinful.  I overcame that, but it reemerged in my brief journey into Catholicism which was also precipitated by obsessions.

From time to time when I have become particularly obsessed I’ve tried returning to Catholicism, and it has always been a disaster, but I think I have finally overcome that particular problem since I have been informed during confession that I have fallen under a sentence of automatic excommunication.  I don’t really want to go back after that, though I respect that particular community’s desire to guard its boundaries.

Most of my obsessions have revolved around saying prayers correctly or obsessing over the PERFECT way to pray or perform a ritual.  Thankfully there is a Christian tradition I learned of from Eastern Orthodox friends that no matter how badly one said a prayer, one should not repeat it, and something about being given a rule like that has helped a great deal.

At other times I’ve had theological obsessions that, once the obsessions passed, I realized were quite irrelevant to me and do not bother me in a normal state of mind.

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