IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!

As active members with access to the private Cauldron community area (those who have made four or more posts) already know, I’ve been working on a new modern site for The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum since last December. It has been up for staff members and members of Cauldron Community for a few weeks. We are now ready to move to the new site. Our new site achieves a long held goal of mine: integrating everything into one fairly coherent-looking site with a single signon to access all features. 

The new site currently combines (as best it can):

a) WordPress for the main part of site — using Buddypress so members can create their own Special Interest Groups with a message area, calendar, document area, file area, gallery, and group project management. Some here may remember we tried a Buddypress site (the last incarnation of TCN) years ago and found it wanting (separate accounts, poor features, etc.). It has greatly improved since then and because of the WordPress-phpBB3 integration, there is one account for the entire site. Logging in to the site from the top menu bar logs you into everything. Logging out logs you out of everything.

b) phpBB3 (instead of SMF which we currently use or Beehive or vBulletin which we used in the past) for the main discussion area. phpBB3 is not my first choice for board software but it is the only free/open source board software that integrates well with other software (like WordPress) and seems to keep up with the changes in new versions of php (which runs the software on the server). The main issue with phpbb3 is there is no way to import the current messages, so we will be starting the board anew again as we have done several times in the past — the last time being in 2011.

c) Dokuwiki for a TC Wiki. The weak post-based wiki we had in our old vBulletin seemed popular, so when I discovered that Dokuwiki integrates with phpBB3, I added one to the system.

d) Discord will remain our chat area. It will be better integrate Discord into  the site as a whole with notices to Discord when a new thread is started, etc. (sent to specific rooms so as not to annoy everyone).

The integration between WordPress/Buddypress, phpbb3, and dokuwiki is good, but far from perfect. Logging in and out works great. However, each piece of software is still separate. For example, you have a profile in WordPress/Buddypress and a profile in phpbb3 — that do not really know about or interact with each other.

Don’t worry, The Cauldron is not trying to become a “social network” like Facebook. The discussion area will be the main focus as usual, but people will be able to set up their own SIGs for anything they are interested in — and unlike the not too great social groups we had on vBulletin or the even less great ones that we have here on SMF, these SIGs are actually first class citizens of the site, not afterthoughts that you can’t even quote messages on.

People who want to will finally be able to help out on the site itself which means I will no longer have to do everything website wise (which is why nothing really gets done that isn’t automated now — I have no time). Discord will be better integrated into the site (notices of new posts and threads will appear in Discord) — better connecting it with the message board. People will be able to easily invite their friends to join TC (and any SIGs they start), etc.

While we can’t move all the messages from this board to phpbb3 (as we were able to when we moved from Vbulletin to SMF a few years ago), after a few days for “remodeling” this board will be available as a read only archive of previous messages (just as our even older SMF board is now). A Google provide search (with ads, unfortunately) will allow the search of all of our sites (except our old Delphiforums area used from 1997-2006 or so). Speaking of ads — except for the above-mentioned ads on the search results page, logged in members of the new site will not have to see any ads.

While the new site will not have a native Dark theme, there is abrowser Add-On/Extension that allows one to switch on DarkMode. It’s for Firefox, Chrome, Safari: https://darkreader.org/ — it seems to work quite well.

Sometime this weekend (April 6-7), this board will be closing for maintenance (converting to read-only), and everyone will be directed to our new web site at https://ecauldron.org/ — however, you can create your account and start using the new site now if you wish.

HOW TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON ECAULDRON.ORG:

WARNING: Due to the way the Single-Signon System works, usernames CANNOT be changed once an account is created. Repeating that, usernames CANNOT be changed once an account is created.

To create an account use the BIG BLUE “Sign Up” button on the right side of the top menu bar. Once you have created your account, you will always log in using the Green “Login” button on the top menu bar.  Note that the menus in the top bar are different for logged-in users: there are more menus and more items in some menus.

Create your account now: https://ecauldron.org/

Note that the site can be slow to come up, however, once the home page loads, other pages load much more quickly.  Also note that the large ads on the site disappear if you are logged in. :)

SPECIAL NOTES:
1) Your Username must be letters and numbers (no capital letters, no spaces, etc.)  This is because the username must be limited to what the most restrictive of WordPress, phpbb3, and Dokuwiki will accept. Apologies in advance.
2) You will be asked for your “Name” during signup. That can be anything you want (suggested, your username with capitals and spaces if needed). This name will appear (visible to the entire net) in the WordPress/BuddyPress part of the site (i.e. The Special Interest Groups).

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On the Numinosity of the Gods

I’ve come across some discussions on some neo-pagan forums in which some describe the gods as “archetypes” and simultaneously as “not real.”  Not so much around here in which a significant number of people self-identify as hard polytheists, but in some quarters I hear this kind of thinking.

From what I can ascertain of Jungian thought, and admittedly I’m still wrapping my mind around that complicated topic, this is not how Jung would have viewed the archetypes — as “not real.”  They still contain a numinous quality at least as far as the conscious mind is concerned.  Experientially they are external.  They can “happen to us.”  They can interact with us in transformative and significant ways.

I acknowledge my agnosticism about many topics including the nature of the gods, miracles, the afterlife, and other topics.  I am also agnostic as to some aspects of Jungian theory, though I strongly suspect there is some truth in it at least in part.  Furthermore Jungian theories are ongoing in development and did not end with the death of Carl Jung.  They can be tweaked.

However, based on personal encounters I have little doubt about the numinosity of the gods or the spirits at least as far as experience is concerned.  By “numinous” I mean that there is an external and mysterious component to the gods, that we cannot fully uncover this mystery and that we can at times encounter the gods as if from without.

In terms of justifying my religious practices the bottom line is that they make me happy, and I flourish through them.  They give my life meaning.  They embody the seeking aspect of my human psychology, and there is a principle I follow in deciding on to whom and how I express devotion: “Thou shalt have no other gods before thine own well being nor worship them in any manner that is not conducive to that well being.”

In terms of the intellect I arrive at certain conclusions through experience.  One of the Powers I am devoted to is my Little Rabbit who has associations with Tu’er Shen, the white rabbit from Alice and Wonderland, and the rabbit from The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings, a book that made a powerful impression on me the first time it was read to me in childhood.  Though I didn’t know to whom I was reaching out to the creative process of compiling associations and symbolism that I needed in a spirit was conscious.  I derived that from the prior sources I listed.

The rest of the process was unconscious — dreams and dream-like waking encounters took over from there, and though the entity did embody the associations I consciously compiled, he also took on unexpected qualities and a life of his own.  This is the numinous quality.  I have had other encounters that were similarly from external sources “happening to me” so far as experience is concerned.

Therefore when Christians and neo-pagans and others describe having visions and other powerful encounters with the gods I tend to believe that at least some of these reported experiences are sincere and that they embody similar qualities as my own experiences.

In some neo-pagan and other spaces in which these types of encounters might be reported by some as a daily or common event I get skeptical, but I have no reason to doubt that sometimes these things happen to people.  They are reported across time and space, and I report them too, and of my own experiences I can be as certain as of anything.

I can only speculate as to how much we can learn about the gods is humanly constructed and how much is of a numinous quality.  I suspect that there are both components present within them and that both pantheons and even Yahweh are at least in part humanity “writ large,” thus my arrival at the interpretation that “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” boils down to “Thou shalt have no other gods before thine own well being.”

So those are my thoughts on these matters and how I justify myself as a religious agnostic.  There are two principles involved in deciding my religious practices: what is conducive to my flourishing and what I can ascertain about gods and/or spirits through both experience and reasoning.

If you work with gods or other Powers do you believe they have a numinous, external quality?

Do you have any thoughts that pertain to how you reconcile tensions between uncertainty and commitments to certain belief structures or assumptions?

Thanks again for reading!

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Rejoicings

These prayers form a part of my Rites and are loosely based on the Odes of Solomon.  They are mostly devotional, but they embody in poetic form some of my underlying theology.

Rejoicings

Sunday

I am the repose of the Christ.  He loveth me, and I love him, I love him!  He hath placed a crown upon my head, and I delight in him, and he hath made the crown to flourish and blossom, and I am satiated with the fruit thereof.  I am not dry and sterile, for he hath made me like a tree planted by rivers of water.  I bring forth fruit in my season, and my leaf shall not wither.  These rivers are his love, and they well up in me, nourishing and sustaining me.

Monday

I was crowned by God, and through Love’s Will my Spirit became free, and the chains fell from my wrists.  My countenance was transfigured; I was born anew, and my heart rejoiced in him.  I sought Wisdom, and my acquaintance thought me strange, and yet she condescended to me with her gentle lovingkindness, she lifted my thoughts to her, and showed me the way to freedom.  The whole world became my body, and kindness glorified me.

Tuesday

The Christ placed the Chalice to my lips, and my thirst was quenched, and the waters of my Heart became spacious and expansive.  A stream broke forth from me, and it became long and broad.  It flooded and carried away the church, and the heavens and the earth became my temple.  I languished in the waters until I became the waters, and I flowed over the earth to assuage dry lips and to heal the brokenhearted.

Wednesday

God is my helper and protector.  My joy is the Lord, and I am the beloved, flooded with fruit.  His darkness embraceth me on every side, and from the darkness hath shone a piercing light.  He hath engulfed me with his kindness, and mysteries sprang from my lips.  He took flesh that I might mingle with him.  He came clothed in symbols that I might become him, and I did not tremble at his terrors, for I had knowledge of his grace, and the love in me soothed me and made his countenance gracious unto me.

Thursday

My heart was rent in pieces, and yet from it flowers blossomed and fruit from the Lord.  Through the splitting of my heart my love was exposed, and I was filled with love.  The brokenness of my heart became my salvation, for he healed me, and I delighted in the fragrant ointment of his holy Spirit.  I put on the beauteous raiment of my Christ, and I took joy in the aroma of my Lord.  There is no wasteland in my heart, for I love him, I love him!

Friday

As Christ is surely my mother, as surely is he my joy and consolation.  I need not beg of his mercy, for his tender kindness is ever in my heart sustaining and nourishing and healing me.  I turn to thee at all times.  Thy gentleness woundeth me.  I taste of the drink of the Lord, and its sweetness is mingled with my joyful weeping.  I look at him, and his gaze is upon me always.  I am his beloved and the only one of my mother.

Saturday

I drank the sweet milk of the Father.  The Son was my cup, and by the holy Spirit I received the waters of abundant life, and my lips were graced with ecstatic speech.  I became the Mother of God, for I became the bearer of a sea of mercy and an ocean of grace.  They drenched me.  They were beneficial to me.  The peoples of the world became the limbs of my Body and I their Head; even so, every man and woman is a Star, and every Star weareth a crown.

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Question about Crystals

Forgive me if this post is in the wrong sub-forum.

For those of you who work with crystals, what do you do with your crystals when they are not in use (ie: displayed on your altar or being used in a crystal grid?). My crystal collection is expanding rapidly, and I am not sure what to do with the crystals that I am not using. Should I keep them together in a bowl? Find a nice box and put some soft fabric in there and store them that way? I am super conscious about making sure my alter does not get cluttered, as it is a sacred space, and it just does not make sense to have ALL my crystals out at once.

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Mew Mew Mew, I am NEW!

Hello lovelies! I am excited to be here. I haven’t been a part of a community forum in quite some time now. My journey with Wicca started 20 years ago, when I was 15, and fizzled out until earlier this year, when it found me again shortly after the Wolf Moon Eclipse. I went through a very difficult time that was a metaphoric punch in the face in early January, and ended up in the Crystal store near my house, asking for help getting centered. The girl who was working that day told me to check out Sara Phillips on Instagram, and from there, I was introduced to Tarot. My Tarot journey has led me down this incredible new path, and I am beyond excited. I have already noticed so much self improvement since embarking on this journey, and every day is a new adventure. I am very excited to be a new member of this community and look forward to making new friends and learning from each other.

Bless.

xxxooo

Ashes

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Need help banishing a very bad person from daughter’s life

I need help banishing a person from my daughter’s life. This is with her consent and she will participate. The man is her ex-husband and he is hurting not only my daughter but my three granddaughters as well. This man is her ex-husband because of all the pain he has already caused.
He only care about himself, which is an understatement. He is $40,000 behind in child support because he refuses to hold a job long enough for the state to collect money. He neglects the girls and they are distraught. They cannot handle his presence, he causes nightmares, trouble in school and emotional pain.
My daughter is doing all she can on the non-magic side of this issue.The girls and my daughter are seeing therapists. My daughter is constant contact with the state regarding the child support issue and the kids emotional stress. She speaks with the girls teachers.
She does not want him in their lives anymore. What I am stating here is only a small portion of what he has done to my daughter and grandkids.
My daughter wants him out of their lives to prevent further hurt to her kids. I want him out so he will no longer hurt all of them.
She wants my help with a banishing spell. She wants him gone but not physically hurt in anyway.
She has an old t-shirt of his that says Death on the front. My thoughts are for her to focus on Death from their lives. Using the shirt in some way that would bring him a death from their lives, not death to him specifically.
I’m looking for suggestions in how to remove this bad person from their lives.
I know we are in a dark moon and I’m hoping this energy can help.
I can create a chant for my daughter and I to use.

Any other thoughts? Banishing herbs or oil, using a candle, ideas for the chant?

Thank you for any help someone can offer.

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Animals and plants

There is a difference between paganism and Christianity, when it comes to natural beings. In paganism, the Gods have favorite animals and flowers. Showing disrespect to nature and all it’s beings angers the Gods. Artemis, for example, has a favorite deer, which, if hurt, Artemis will become angry. In Christianity on the other hand, God said to humans that humans are his favorite and the animals and plants are to take orders from humans. He said to Adam to name the animals and rule them.  :o

Today in our world, people act like Adam and they seperate animals like beings for exploitation. Should pagans become more active in protecting the animals, and finally people stop animal cruelty? doesn’t paganism give great ethics to treat animals and plants with respect?

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What does it mean to feel like a man or a woman?

This is a topic I plan on discussing with a few of my friends off the web who happen to be trans, but I know there are a number of gender fluid/gender queer identifying people on these forums, so I thought it might be an interesting topic to discuss, and I have some personal experiences myself that I would like to explore.

For the record I consider myself to be trans friendly and support the choices people discern they need to make to flourish and be well whatever that entails about choice of clothing, hormone therapy, surgery, or what have you, and I have held these views since I first learned about trans issues in my teenage years.

I also support other gender variations, and I am excited about the society emerging that is pushing boundaries such that people are comfortable identifying and living outside of the strict gender binary.

Part of what I want to explore is what it means to feel like a man or a woman.  Is there something it feels like to be a man or a woman?  I get confused about this because I only know what I feel like, and I’m not sure if there is a distinctive way to feel like a man.

Does it merely mean to feel comfortable in roles and clothing usually associated with a man or a woman?  Or perhaps there is something it is like to feel like a man or woman, and those who are not comfortable in their bodies or roles assigned by societies are intuiting this on some level and have a need to make certain decisions in order to flourish psychologically and spiritually.

These are all honest questions, and I am open to all perspectives and insights on this matter.  It may be possible that different brain qualities and hormonal components contribute to certain mental states that do tend to align with male or female and that some people therefore feel uncomfortable with the gender and roles society assigned.  What do you think?

On a more personal level it may be that I’m unsure what it feels like to be a man or a woman because I don’t really feel like either one if there is such a distinctive state.  That’s just my intuition on the matter since I’m stabbing in the dark at something I don’t claim to understand.

I seem to relate easily in conversation and in perspectives to both men and women.  So I just take on whatever perspectives are needed through empathy depending on whom I’m conversing with.  And what I’ve noticed about myself is that other people’s perspectives on me vary.  Some people perceive me as very feminine, while others see me as masculine, and I’m not sure what they mean.

I dress and physically appear very masculine, and I’m comfortable with that.  I’m also highly sensitive, and I’m comfortable with that, too, though in my southern culture of origin in North America I was taught by my family that this was a very bad characteristic for me to have.

At different times in my life I’ve been perceived different ways, too.  My family saw me as very feminine as a boy, and now they perceive me as masculine as an adult man.  Sometimes one person will ascribe different gender characterizations to me at different times.  And one person I know simply claims that I am androgynous in personality if not in appearance, and that’s how I’d say I feel if I had to take a guess.

So it may be that part of my perplexity in understanding what it is like to feel like a man or a woman is that I don’t feel like either one.

As I’ve mentioned in other places in the forum I am also a multiple meaning that I experience different aspects of my personality as actual persons, and I’ve noticed that of the four main ones I experience two are female, and two are male, so there is that interesting angle to the whole matter as well, and one of them is particularly feminine (the one associated with speech and emotions among other domains) and one is particularly masculine (associated with sexuality, particularly homosexuality, and other domains).

Since I experience them often through emotions and intuition as well as in other ways that might be my key to what it feels like to be masculine or feminine, but this is a thought that his only now struck me, and I will have to explore it further.

If it sheds light on matters I am also gay, although I am not so sure this is connected since gay people like others are very diverse in gender identification and expression.

For the purposes of this discussion I’m interested in any and all aspects of gender identification and expression that anyone should wish to discuss should they feel inclined to do so.  Thanks for letting me get out my thoughts and feelings.  I love this forum.  :)

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Honoring Chavi, Elspeth, and Marilyn on April 1st (2019)

The 13th anniversary of one of the saddest days in the history of The Cauldron is almost upon us. If you were a member of The Cauldron any time from about 2003 to early 2006, you will remember Chavi (aka Storyteller Cat and, in offline life, Cathlene Patricia McKenna) and starting in early 2005, her ever positive reports on her battle with a rare form of cancer. (Some of these posted used to be available on our 2005 Archive Board — but the software it ran on does not support modern versions of PHP.) The odds were against her from the beginning, but that did not stop her from fighting hard to try to be one of the rare survivors. And for a time it looked like she really might overcome those long odds. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be so. We lost Chavi on April 1, 2006.

Elspeth, one of the founders of this board passed over on April 19, 2010, after years of fighting congestive heart failure and other medical problems which kept her offline except for generally brief spells for the last five or six years before her death. She was a major participant here in the early years of this board and her posts can be found on our old Delphi forum. Some of her poetry and other writings can in old issues of our newsletter and in the Samhain section of our web site. The Cauldron would have never started if Elspeth had not wanted a forum to replace a small mailing list, The Grove, which she ran. Back then in cost money to run a user-ran forum on Delphi (where we were at the time) and I gave her a year of that cost and my help running the forum as a present.

Marilyn (aka Absent) was a long time active member of this board with many posts to her credit up until she suddenly passed on February 16th of 2013. She was a long time staff member whose expertise on the Tarot was appreciated by all.

Sunday, April 1, 2019, marks the 13th anniversary of Chavi’s passing. Since the first anniversary of her passing, we have honored her on April 1st with 24 hours of candle burning. Eight years ago, we started honoring Elspeth on this day as well. Five years ago, we added Marilyn to this annual memorial. We are asking all Cauldron members who knew Chavi, Elspeth, or Marilyn; knew of Chavi, Elspeth, or Marilyn; or who did not know any of these three people but just want to help honor three wonderful people who meant a lot to many members of TC (and wish to participate) to light a candle in honor of Chavi, Elspeth, and Marilyn at 8pm your local time on April 1st and let it burn for at least an hour. The object is to have 24 hours of candles burning for them — one hour at a time around the world. Given things like oceans and the like, this may not be completely possible, but we have always come close — especially as some of us let our candles burn for much longer than one hour.

If you log in on April 1st, you will probably notice that many longtime members of this board have changed their avatar for the day to either an avatar of a hat or their regular avatar wearing a hat. These hats are usually somewhat silly. We do this in honor of Chavi who had a thing for silly hats.

If you want to participate, please post in here. Everyone, regardless of religion, is welcome to participate. If you can’t participate at 8pm your time, feel free to pick a different hour, I can promise you that neither Chavi, Elspeth, nor Marilyn would have been sticklers about the time. Neither are we.

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