In Magento I wanted to pass a variable or two from a CMS Page to my phtml template file. I wanted to do this as the client wanted backgrounds to change depending on the page, but there didn't seem to be anything on the web describing how to do this.
Found out it's remarkably easy :
1) Create your CMS page.
2) Go to Design -> Layout Update XML and enter the following:
<block type="core/text_list" name="ablock" as="ablock" translate="label">
3) Edit your phtml page template (eg. app/design/frontend/base/default/template/page/1column.phtml) the code is then just :
<?php var_dump($this->getChild('ablock')->getData()); ?>
hope that helps somebody out there.