Category: Earth Spirit

News from the Earth Spirit Council: Paganism, circle dance, labyrinths, if approved updates from Environment and Gardening teams. This category is used for the monthly Earth Spirit e-newsletter.

Gardening at UCV – if you like to dig, there are many opportunities

There are many opportunities to garden at UCV. Some of our members have home gardens and more than enough on their plate managing that, but others live in condos or apartments and enjoy the chance to beautify our grounds and enjoy the company of others who love dirt!

Work with a crew once a month

Once a month on the 3rd Saturday a crew arrives and Patti Turner helps them find things that work for them and help keep our extensive grounds and gardens looking good. Patti brings home-cooked snacks! And Steven usually thanks them the following day. As one of the people who spend a lot of time at UCV he notices the difference – big time!

Help Mary with the labyrinth

Bubbles on the Labyrinth October 15, 2018.

Our garden path labyrinth can always use work and a couple of us get together on a spontaneous schedule if it looks like a good day. If you’d like to join us, or know some regular tasks that need doing that you can do on your own time, just drop Mary Bennett a note.

Vegetable gardens on north side

You may have noticed the vegetable gardens on the north side of the property. These were first put in after digging up lawn (we have a lot of it, and are lessening it over time) in the mid-90s.  At the same time, we put heather on the SW corner and a herb garden on the south side.

The west gardens are for the Children’s program.

The farthest east is looked after by Mairy Beam and Mary Bennett.  We often pick and share the herbs with the earth spirit circle.

The largest area in the middle is divided into a number of smaller plots from 3′ square to about 4′ x 6′.

The gardeners there are:

  • Sandy Riecken
  • Megumi/Amy Anderson (Love Soup)
  • Marie Witt
  • Gerda Schulz
  • Patti Turner

The southern three boxes are for three of our families.

Karl Perrin digging in children’s garden. 2017

Would you like to have a vegetable garden area at UCV — or work with others on their plots?

Would you like to have a small plot of your own either for yourself or to support a program at UCV? You could do it as part of a pair or group or on your own.

Mary’s been working on helping new gardeners find a plot of a size that works for them and over time building up the very clay-y soil with compost and dried leaves.

There’s some space available for another plot or two, including a raised bed near he sidewalk that wouldn’t require much bending. It might work for someone in a wheel chair even. Contact Mary if you’d like to take on a plot.

Adopt an area

Once people start gardening at UCV they quickly begin to notice the expanse of the property and the need for many hands to make light work. Some years ago, there was a suggestion that individuals might “adopt an area” – perhaps even very very small and take it on to weed, water and perhaps even plant.

Is there a spot you’ve noticed needs some pruning or weeding?

Talk to Patti if you are ready to adopt a section of the grounds.

Paganism 101 Wait list – Sign up for next year

For the second time after a decade lapse, we are offering Louise Bunn’s Paganism 101 course as a once-a-month session for 10 months with a team of facilitators.

Both years we had an extensive wait list.

We have a new database for ensuring people can join the waitlist and we can easily send updates when a new course is starting, likely in September 2020 to June 2021.

Please sign up here if you’d like to be on the list.

More information here.

 

Night for all Souls at Mountainview Cemetery

Every year our municipal cemetery turns into a welcoming place for music, art and remembrance.

Opening night is the Saturday before Hallowe’en and it closes on November 1 with a procession to put out the candles at the shrines.

You’ll often see some other Unitarians there.

Lots more information here. https://nightforallsouls.com/

ALL SOULS AT MOUNTAIN VIEW CEMETERY

5455 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC

#8 bus

604-325-2646
mountain.view@vancouver.ca

ABOUT ALL SOULS

Curated by artists Paula Jardine and Marina Szijarto, this unique cultural event offers the public an opportunity to remember their dead, whether interred at Mountain View Cemetery or not, in a gentle atmosphere of contemplative beauty.

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven – Feminist Theology curriculum

We hope to offer this program starting in January 2020.

https://www.cakesforthequeenofheaven.org/

If you’d like to be on a wait list to receive information once a date is set, please sign up here: https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/cakesforthequeenofheaven

CUUWA (Canadian U*U Women’s Association) * may also offer this popular curriculum by Zoom. Stay tuned!

From the UUWF (Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation)

Cakes Resources Can Now Be Downloaded

The UU Women and Religion Store has had many requests to make the digital resources for the classic curriculum, Cakes for the Queen of Heaven, available as downloadable files instead of on a CD shipped with the books. We’re happy to announce they’ve made that happen! Now the spiral-bound curriculum books will be shipped with a link and password to access the files. If you have already purchased the curriculum and would like access, please email store@uuwr.org.

Cost of the curriculum is $75 US.

From their website:

IN ANCIENT TIMES: This five-session Volume I of the popular adult religious education curriculum includes an introductory section featuring author Shirley’s Ranck’s “Statement of Feminist Thealogy,” Elinor Artman’s “Brief Herstory of Cakes,” and Nancy Vedder-Shults, “Baking Cakes for the Queen of Heaven.”

The themes of the Session Plans are: The Sacred Female, In the Name of the Mother and the Daughter, Womanpower, The First Turning-From Goddess to God, and Reclaiming Women’s Heritage of Peace.” The resource section includes supplementary essays by a number of important authors, a listing of highly recommended materials, and the sheet music of songs by Carole Eagleheart and Ann Forfreedom for use with the curriculum. The curriculum also includes a CD-ROM with five Visual Programs to accompany the sessions, plus resource material for easy distribution to participants.

ON THE THRESHOLD: In the six-session continuation of the course, Volume II, we will continue our journey into the past to reclaim the stories of powerful women to be found in ancient Judaism and in early Christianity. We will also look at the global silencing and brutalization of women that accompanied the rise of patriarchal religion and society. Finally we will celebrate the exciting new world-view and thealogy that has emerged in our time, and explore the personal and social changes that may be suggested by that new world-view and thealogy. We will continue the complex process of telling a new story.
In addition, you may order Carole Etzler Eagleheart’s CD “She Calls to Us,” which contains many of the songs in the curriculum. Sound samples are available on her MUSIC page.

 

* To join CUUWA email listserve, please contact: cuuwa.cuc@gmail.com

Visit the CUUWA Facebook page – it is public so there is no need to be a Facebook User. Feel free to post articles of interest to all.

 

Encountering Our Ancestors – a 15-year tradition

It’s the season of Samhain/Halloween/Day of the Dead. Sunday November 3 11-12.

For the fifteenth time, we summon eminent ancestors from our Unitarian Universalist history to experience their stories.

This is a much beloved tradition where Steven writes scripts and several UCVers speak from the grave on behalf of that year’s visitors.

Join us on Sunday, November 3, to welcome these visitors from the past: an occasion to reckon our good fortune as heirs of an amazing religious tradition.

 

Podcast from 2018 service.

2017 podcast

2016 podcast

2015 order of service

2014 order of service and music choices

List of ancestors who have visited over the years:

Paul Best (1590–1657)  Early English Unitarian    Eric Wyness

Caleb Rich  (1750–1821)      Universalist Preacher    Bennett Mitten

Kate Austin Cooper  (1864–1902) Universalist/Anarchist  Leonie Armstrong

Olive Higgins Prouty  (1882–1974)   Author  Naomi Taylor

*Photo of Richard Eddy, stand in for Caleb Rich.

** Rosemary Brown claimed that the great composers transmitted or dictated their newest compositions to her. So it is appropriate  to play one of these pieces at this time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is said to be the thinnest.   Elliott

*** Modern Pagans view the world as a great Circle, majestically turning through the four Quarters of the Year, from season to season, with each Quarter representing a natural Element, a geographic Direction, and a specific Season, and each presided over by benevolent elemental forces, Guardians of each phase of our human lives, from birth to death, and beyond. 

Previous Ancestors we’ve encountered

Ancestors: Samhain 2004 (clockwise from upper right)

Dorothy Livesay – Writer & Activist

Joseph Chamberlain – Politician

Josephine Shaw Lowell – Consumer Advocate

Girolamo Busale – Theologian

Bela Bartok – Composer

Ancestors: Samhain 2005 (clockwise from upper right)

Beatrix Potter – Children’s Author  

Maria Mitchell – Astronomer

Jacob Paleologus – Theologian/ Martyr

George Boole – Mathematician

Edvard Grieg – Composer

Ancestors: Samhain 2006 (clockwise from upper right)

Adriaan Korbaugh – Theologian/Martyr

Martha and Waitstill Sharp – Refugee Relief Activists

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell – Author

Rod Serling – Science Fiction Writer & TV Producer

Katarina Weiglowa – Martyr

Ancestors: Samhain 2008 (clockwise from upper right)

Margaret Fuller – Journalist & Feminist

Arthur Lismer – Artist

Rachel Carson – Environmentalist

Herman Melville – Author

Bernardo Ochino – Theologian /Martyr

Ancestors: Samhain 2009 (clockwise from upper right)

Ledyard Stebbins – Geneticist

Travers Herford – Unitarian Minister/Judaism Scholar

Anna Laetitia Barbauld – Poet/Feminist

Lotta Hitschmanova – Founder USC Canada

Ancestors: Samhain 2010 (clockwise from upper right)

Simon Budny – Radical Theologian/Biblical Scholar

Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk – First Lady of Czechoslovakia

Mary Wollstonecraft – Feminist/Philosopher/Author

Leonard Marsh – Public Servant

Ancestors: Samhain 2011 (clockwise from upper right)

Joseph Workman – Canadian Mental Health Pioneer

Vilhjamar Stefansson – Explorer/Ethnologist

May Sarton – Poet

Isabella Jagiellon – Unitarian Noblewoman

 (holding her son John Sigismund, 1st Unitarian king)

Ancestors: Samhain 2012 (clockwise from upper right)

Orestes Brownson – Minister/Political Radical

Margaret Laurence – Author

Mary White Ovington – Civil Rights Activist

William Hazlitt – Essayist

Ancestors: Samhain 2013 (clockwise from upper right)

Joseph Johnson – Publisher

Conrad Aiken – Poet

Celia Payne-Gaposchkin – Astronomer

Malvina Reynolds – Song Writer/Activist

Ancestors: Samhain 2014 (clock-wise from upper right)

Margaret Benedictsson – Women’s Rights Activitst

William Carlos Williams – Doctor/Poet

Maria Cook – Universalist Preacher

Lelio Sozzini – Theologian

 

UCV Library Books Related to the Sermon:

Unitarians in Canada, by Phillip Hewett, 1995;

Unitarian Universalism: A Narrative History, by David E. Bumbaugh, 2000; and

These Live Tomorrow, by Clinton Lee Scott, 1964.

Past order of service covers.

 

 

 

Vancouver Unitarians Join Sept 27 Global Climate Strike

Unitarians from all four Greater Vancouver congregations – including three Unitarian ministers – gathered under the Vancouver Unitarians banner at the start of the Global Climate Strike in Vancouver on Sept. 27, 2019. The event was organized by students and we proudly joined with 10s of thousands of them to fill the length of Cambie Street on our way through downtown Vancouver to the CBC building at West Georgia and Hamilton streets.

It was exhilarating – and reassuring – to be a part of this massive mobilization of Canadians.

Police estimated that 100,000 people participated – perhaps the largest march ever in Vancouver.

10s of thousands at City Hall for Sept 27 Climate Strike

 

Would you like to join us for future rallies, marches and activities? Learn more about our team here or contact environment@vancouverunitarians.ca

Annual Ancestor Shrine–Come and visit

Origins of Our Tradition

Mary, Catherine, Nancy, Terence, Morgan and Jen first created an Ancestor Shrine with the children’s program back in the fall of 2013. Transforming the meditation room into a place of remembrance at the end of October has become a firm tradition since then. It is something our children remember and connect with over the years.

Please come explore the Ancestor Shrine after Sunday service on October 27th.

You may bring a photo or remembrance to leave on the altar if you wish (to be returned the following Sunday), and there will be paper and twine with which to write your own remembrances and hang from the willow branches.

May we remember where we come from, and how the tree of life shows us that truly all that exists on Earth is related. Further back we find that we have evolved from the dust of exploded stars–what great mystery!

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!

Evenings

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:

(Some) Apples are ready for picking – please help yourselves

Photo credit: Keith Wilkinson

We have 14 apple trees on the North West side of the property.

They were planted to celebrate our 100th anniversary.

UPDATE: Next up: The King apples are ripe mid-September to early October.

In the meantime, do pick up any fallen apples. 

 

Our apple tree varieties are (clockwise from North West)
Honey Crisp, Scarlet Sentinel, King, Florina, Yellow Transparent, Summerland Red Macintosh, Ambrosia, 
Gravenstein, Cox Orange Pippin, Liberty, Sunrise, Golden Sentinel, Shamrock and Jonafree.

In order of ripening:

Yellow Transparent  July 10–25

SUNRISE  mid-August

GRAVENSTEIN  

Cox’s Orange Pippin late picking straight from the tree recommended.

Scarlet Sentinel – mid to late September

King – September 15 – 25

Florina – late September https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florina_(apple)

McIntosh – not till September 20-30

Ambrosia – mid to late season – October

Liberty – late season

 

FROM https://www.bctfpg.ca/horticulture/varieties-and-pollination/apple-varieties/

I’m adding more details about the various trees and apples below. A work in progress.
Apples are ready between   August 15 – October 30
from: https://pickyourown.org/apples_howtotellwhenripe.php
Scarlet Sentinel

King

Sept. 15–25 Yellow with red blush

Red McIntosh

Sept. 20–30 Yellow with red blush
Popular in America since 1811

  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad, good as part of a blend for applesauce
  • Sweet, mild flavor

ambrosia apple

Ambrosia – mid to late season

  • Sweet, crisp, aromatic flavour reminiscent of pear and low acidity.
  • Mostly red colouration, with yellow patches.
  • Flesh is cream-coloured, firm meat
  • Medium to large in size
  • Developed in British Columbia in the early 1990s.
  • Believed to be a cross of a Jonagold and Golden Delicious.
  • Ripens mid to late season

Gravenstein apple

Gravenstein

  • Greenish-yellow with a lumpy appearance
  • A good, all-purpose apple,
  • Good for applesauce and pies.

Cox’s Orange Pippin – early

  • Popular in English markets.
  • Medium sized, golden yellow skin, with brownish orange
  • often russeted.
  • Flesh tender, crisp, semi-tart
  • early

Liberty apple

Liberty – late season

  • A highly disease-resistant introduction from Geneva New York.
  • Liberty has superior dessert quality, similar to one of its parents, Macoun
  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad
  • flavor improves in storage
  • late season

Sunrise – mid August

Yellow Transparent July 10–25 Creamy yellow

Jonagold Sept. 15–Oct. 7 Yellow with red stripes

Jonathan Sept. 20–25 Yellow with red blush

Golden Delicious Oct. 1–15 Yellow

Delicious—red strains Oct. 1–15 Red

Please pick the flowers and herbs in the labyrinth

Yes, that’s an unusual invitation, I know, but… I’d love people to take a bit of UCV abundance home with them. The rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) makes a lovely bouquet to bring some sunshine indoors.

Here are some that I would really like to have picked. It saves me pruning and dead-heading:
Lavender (still quite nice but fading fast). It’s mainly on the outer ring on the east side.
Dandelions- of course – any time!
Mint – There are several kinds of mint – chocolate mint, pineapple mint, etc. Please do cut 6″ pieces or so to make tea or enjoy in salads etc.
Fennel – Nice for a bouquet and also nice with mint for tea, or infused water.
Any time —
Lambs ears – those lovely fuzzy leaves can be picked any time. Not edible (but not poisonous). Kids love to touch them.
Sage – on west side near a tree – pick a bit to take home – I love sage tea, or to flavour other foods.
Take up to 1/3 of…
The glorious rudbeckia/black-eyed Susan – Take the flowers that are in full bloom. I call this pre-emptive dead-heading. Cut the step right to the place where it connects with another stem, so it looks nice.
Please don’t pick without checking with me:
The echinacea was moved last year and just getting established, so I’d prefer it wasn’t picked yet. Leave it for the bees!!

 

Here are some excerpts and links about kids and flowers:

Some flowers, like the bright yellow dandelion, are very common and children should be encouraged to collect them by armfuls. Other flowers, like the yellow golden paintbrush, are endangered and should be left alone. Not all flowers are created equal but everyone (even kids!) can learn which flowers are good to pick, where to pick them and when to pick them. Learning about flowers and picking them is a wonderful opportunity for you and your child to connect with nature together.