Tag: Dance

Circle Dance

Before covid, UCV hosted 3 sometimes more circle dance gatherings every month.

Since then we’ve shared two or three at the start of Earth Spirit rituals and a couple of us have met informally and now we’d like to start offering at least one 2-hour circle dance session each month.

You may find Mary’s blog http://sacredcircledance.wordpress.com of value, especially if you’re new to circle dancing.


Summer Newsletter from the Pagan Committee

Earth Spirituality Summer News

Click here for Fall News

Did you know UCV has had a “Pagan Committee” for over 20 years?

When Louise Bunn, creator of the Unitarian curriculum Paganism 101, asked about how to form an ongoing group for pagan (aka earth spirituality) gatherings, she was told that the only organizational structure we had was committees. So a committee it was!  Since then there have been times when a pagan group was very active, sometimes organizing rituals for 40 or 50 people; and other times when interest waned and then… somehow like the rhythms of nature mentioned in the 6th Unitarian source, a new group would spring up. 

Over covid times, the most active part of what we’ve recently been calling the “earth spirit” group has been our 40-member email group where members sometimes post reminders about the seasons or the phases of the moon, informational links and an invitation to an occasional zoom event. We (mainly Mairy Beam!) coordinated several gatherings in the past year: two outdoors and five over zoom. 

Now, with restrictions lifting and the weather grand, we’re encouraging people to gather on the beautiful grounds of UCV: come on your own–or invite a few friends–and walk the labyrinth; pick some herbs, or even help tend the new earth spirit herb garden or participate in a circle dance or ritual.  Plans are still being considered, but we hope there will be a Lammas ritual in late July or early August.  I, for one, want to dance around that tree again for World Circle Dance on Sunday, July 11th. 

While summer is often a slow time for events, it’s also when a lot of planning happens for the fall start up. As we rest, travel, walk, read, ideas incubate – and so we’d like to invite you to fill out a survey if you’re interested in “earth spirit/pagan” activities at UCV.  https://forms.gle/1eLgGe2t9LPpFXEb8

It looks long, but as it’s multiple choice and you can skip any questions that aren’t relevant, it only takes a couple of minutes. And you get to see what others say. 

Would you like to learn more about pagan practices? Make your own wand or broom? Meet with others to socialize and ritualize? We might just be able to put you together with others who have the same interests!

Meanwhile, Louise has led or co-led the Paganism 101 program about 8 times since the first one in 1999 and would love to see it offered again, with a team that she could support, but not lead herself. If you’d like to be part of a team like that, please contact Louise at louisebunn@uniserve.com


Bright blessings,

Mary Bennett for the UCV Earth Spirit group


Circle Dance – Together apart

Are you missing our circle dance gatherings? Our good friends Darlene and Frances put together a playlist of dances that are familiar to many in their Ladner Circle Dance Group. I danced “with” them on Friday night (as I do usually on the last Friday of each month).

My contribution was putting together a youtube playlist. Dance instruction is (when available) put before the music. If you’re not familiar with the dance, maybe just improvise some of the steps. We always say, “There are no wrong steps, only variations” so this is a good time to do your own variations.


Here’s what Darlene and Frances sent out.

Hello Ladner Dancers,

Frances and Darlene have prepared a “Blossom!” Spring dance program for those who wish to listen or move to dances and music familiar to the Ladner Dance Circle.  Some of the music videos have beautiful images to enjoy too.

The world situation is challenging and affecting us in many ways.  Dance is our connection to each other, to community, to other places/other people, to our precious earth and beyond.  Dance is grounding and healing.  Please join the Ladner Dance Circle in your own home with your heart, intentions and prayers whenever you have the time and energy to connect with these suggested dances/songs (or your own favourites!).

Grab a scarf or two (for Winds on the Tor) and a candle (for My Prayer and Sending You Light) before you begin to dance…

Blessings in the dance of life,

Frances and Darlene

PS It would be lovely to know if you dance or listen along with us.

Breathe deeply!   enJOY

Here Now Lyrics (excerpts):

This spiral dance of joy and grief

Here now, the body breathes

Here now, the laughing, crying

Here now, the birds and dying

Here now, this tale unfolding

Here now, the circle holding

Here now, blessed be

These hands that form a sacred ring

Here now, blessed be

These feet that dance, these hearts that sing

Here now, blessed be

The flowering of the living tree

Here now, blessed be

This light that flows through you and me

Here now, be here now,

We’re here now

Here Now

Choreographer:  Paul Boizot, UK

Album:  Invocation

Artist: Jaiya, BC, Canada

Listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5vf0YrPmw4

Dance:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=slkD2QcfJRw

Heartbeat Drum Song

Choreographer: Ciann and Manitoulin Island Sacred Circle Dance Group

Music Origin:  Native American. The song is in a compilation of Tutelo and Saponi languages, now extinct dialects of the Sioux nation

Music Title:  Mahk Jchi

Artist:  Ulali

Listen:  youtu.be/bOn4vIybDU8

Steps:  Dance can travel to the right or left.  If traveling to the right:

R side, L together (to the right) X3, L side (going left), R touch.  Repeat.


Lyrics translation:

Our hearts are full and our minds are good
Our ancestors come and give us strength
Stand tall, sing, dance and never forget who you are
Or where you come from

Healing Waters

Choreographer:  S. Raschke

Music Title:  Song to the Mother

Album:  Fire Prayer

Artist:  Denean

Listen: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue3BH2GLV08

Dance:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM358HFD8HY

Suvetar (Goddess of Spring)

Choreographer:  Kevin Meyers – USA

Album:  Sjofn

Artist:  Gjallarhorn – Sweden

Listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ4sqv7OHrg

Dance:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIp7R6VgBVM

Irish Dance (Honouring St Patrick’s Day)

Music:  your choice of Irish music

Steps:  skip and have fun like the children in this video  www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCRzuMPzk4E

Or if you want more of a challenge, then enjoy dancing this dance…

Music:  Irish Tipple

Choreographer:  Barbara Driscoll

Dance:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d999sixJneo

Winds on the Tor (Fresh Spring winds)

Choreographer:  Glastonbury Wed. eve dance group

Music Title:  Young Brown Cow (traditional)

Artist: unknown

Listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRVDOktkCVI

Dance:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFVVmPqxB4k

Suggestion:  dance Winds on the Tor with a scarf or two and be playful

Pachelbel In the Garden (sounds of Spring)

Choreographer:  Sun Meditation steps by Bernard Wosien matched to this music by Frances Rose, BC, Canada

Album:  Dan Gibson’s Solitudes, Exploring Nature With Music, Pachelbel in the Garden

Artist:  Dan Gibson

Listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzDVZzIIcy8

Dance:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2xGiqPDaq0  (Sun Meditation steps)

Sun Meditation (Equinox ~ balance of light and dark and connection to Findhorn)

Choreographer:  Bernard Wosien, Findhorn

Music Title:   Arioso from Cantata BWV 156 J.S.Bach

Listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeaSfoTnz0o

Dance:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2xGiqPDaq0

Bells of Norwich (A dance of hope ~ all will be well again)

Choreographer:  Collin Harrison, UK

Artist:  Sydney Carter

Listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUnMnpFQ0Wo

Dance:  (See step notes at bottom of this email)

Offering Govand (Traditional dance steps to celebrate love and life)

Choreographer:  Traditional steps matched to this music by Shakeh Major Tchilingirian

Origin:  Western Armenia

Music Title: Offering

Album:  Treasures

Artist:  Night Ark

From World Circle Dance Day 2019 globalcircledance.com/2019


Dance video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9CfzqG5Qlc

Notes:  drive.google.com/file/d/1fS6UfjEMfyYKOk2oyw-MUCA0w4XpKzGI/view

My Prayer (candle dance)

Music: Greek

Music title: Prosefhi

Album:  Odos Nefelis’88

Artist: Haris Alexiou, Greece

Listen:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UNQ7Il8wG0

Dance steps:  3 forward steps, 1 sway back, candle in left hand toward centre, right hand on left back heart space of person in front or when dancing alone put right hand on your heart.


Translation of the lyrics to My Prayer (Prosefhi)


Give me a line so that I can walk
Give me a name so I won’t get lost
Give me a dream, a dream to hold on to
Give me a vision to help me resist.

Give me a child to make my confessions to
Give me a kiss to wash away the evil
Wake me in the morning with a song
which would bless my life.

Hold your own prayer in your heart as you dance ”My Prayer”…

When you have finished dancing, face centre

Sending You Light (candle meditation)

Artist: Ana Hernández & Fran McKendree

Album:  Sending You Light

Listen: open.spotify.com/album/1mrHsXaltDPY8WbkiOamIV

Movement:  stand still or move your candle or move your body….

As the music plays, meditate with your candle


I am sending you light to heal you, to hold you. I am sending you light to hold you in love.



  • V-hold, Facing to the right, moving to the right:  Step Right, Left, Right slip step (Right, slip together Left, Right), Left slip step (Left, slip together Right, Left)
  • Facing centre:  step side Right, Left close to the right
  • Repeat, mirroring steps to the left
  • “Bells”…rock in on the Right foot, rock out on the Left foot(repeat 3 more times).  Arms rock in and out too.
  • Turn slowly in place:  with right hand on heart and left hand up, take 4 steps over the right shoulder Right, Left, Right, Left
  • Bow slowly:  hands on heart or in prayer position
  • Repeat
  • Last cycle ends by repeating “Bells” rocking, turning and sealing the hope filled dance with hands folded over the heart.

We have several circle dance gatherings every month

If you’d like to get some gentle exercise, move to music from a wide selection of tunes from folk to contemporary and classical, we have several opportunities every month to try out sacred circle dance.

There has been a circle dance group at UCV for well over a decade and the opportunities keep increasing.

Usually it’s a small group of 5 to 15. We always teach the steps and welcome newcomers. You are encouraged to adjust the movements to your own needs. For instance, some people get dizzy when they spin, or find “cross-over” steps difficult on their body. Our mantra is: There are no wrong steps, only variations!


On the 1st Tuesday and 2nd Monday we meet in the hall from 7 to 9pm. We usually dance about 12-15 different dances with a short refreshment break in the middle.

GLAD – Gathering for Labyrinth Art and Dance

GLAD is now in its third year. Mairy, Mary and Darlene coordinate a mid-day creative retreat on the 3rd Thursday 11-1pm. We create art for a centerpiece to dance around; circle dance and then walk the labyrinth (time and weather permitting.

Circle Dance with Ease

On the 1st Sunday of each month from 2-3:30pm, we offer a “gentle” approach to circle dance, great for beginners or those who want to just relax into dancing. We select 4 dances and dance each one three times, the third time, with all four in sequence.

Pagan Ritual through Circle Dance

In summer 2019, we experimented with a new offering coordinated by Mairy Beam and Mary Bennett
We are not doing these as a regular monthly event now but may on occasion plan one to honour the turning of the seasons.
We will combine some earth spirit components with about 8 or so circle dances.  We start out with casting a circle, calling in the four directions and honouring the divine masculine and feminine. We use a combination of readings, lighting candles and dances that correspond to this sequence. In the middle we will do more circle dancing related to the season and some earth-centred activity (planting, harvesting, making) and then end the evening with opening the circle with devocations and a closing dance/chant.
We dance to some or all of these pagan chants in each session.

Casting the circle

Calling the 4 directions/elements

Invoking Divine Masculine/Feminine

Opening/ending the circle

For more details contact Mary Bennett at earthspiritucv@gmail.com
Or check out all earth spirit listings at vancouverunitarians.ca/earth-spirit

RSVP appreciated but not required.

Our Unitarian sixth source that acknowledges earth-centered traditions means we often dance to songs related to the turning of the seasons, for instance:

World Circle Dance Day 2018

In July, 2018, we joined with circle dancers around the world to dance three “link-up” dances–one choreographed by Bernard Wosien, the founder of sacred circle dance; a traditional Greek dance and one choreographed by Gwen Peterdi, who organizes the Mexico Circle Dance event.

Below are videos of the three link-up dances.



Learn more about World Circle Dance Day here:



Want to Try Out Circle Dance?

Summer is a time for adventures and if you’re on a stay-cation or visiting Vancouver from elsewhere, we invite you to these gatherings especially for those who want to try out sacred circle dance, either for the first time or because you’d like to learn or practice some of the basic steps.

Mary Bennett and Mairy Beam have collectively been circle dancing for over 30 years and they each bring their own story to why it’s become an important part of their spiritual lives.

Vancouver Unitarians have been hosting sacred circle dance events open to all for 15 years.

People come with a variety of backgrounds from “always loved dancing” to “three left feet.”

Sacred circle dancing in this form comes from the Findhorn Foundation about 40 years ago initiated by Bernard Wosien.

We’ll answer any questions you have and enjoy sharing our enthusiasm in a gentle way.

First Tuesdays in July and August 7:30 – 9 pm.

Mary and Mairy are both members of the Vancouver Unitarians Earth Spirit Council. Email for other events. 

Here’s the worship service they led in 2017 about their experience with circle dancing.

Photo used with permission from D. Rainbow.