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.

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 wait list and we can easily send updates when a new course is starting, likely in September 2020 to June 2021.

More information here.


Ponder the Change of Season – We wandered from table to table and considered the return of the light

As part of our Imbolc celebration, participants pondered questions related to the four directions/elements. Volunteers set up altars with objects – including food – that correspond to their direction/element.


Marie set up North including plant, rock, salt and salted dark chocolate bar.

The North brings solid land.

  • How is your body changing from winter to spring?
  • How are you connecting to the Earth now?
  • Are you preparing to plant?


Cindy set up the West/Water table.

The West brings flowing and raining

  • Are you dancing in the rain?
  • Or feel it’s raining on your parade?
  • Where would you like more flow?

Mairy did the South Altar.

The South brings light and warmth

  • What is heating up for you?
  • Is anything in your life “going south”?
  • Do you want to turn up the heat?



Gabby had popcorn for us in the East/Air.

The East brings Fresh Spring Breezes

  • Can you feel them yet?
  • What are they stirring up?
  • What is the scent and feeling on your skin?


Mary set up the central altar with snowdrops that will now be planted in the garden path labyrinth.


We also danced three circle dances (some danced; some drummed)

Vigil: keep warm through the cold night, as the spring will come again

Birghitta: welcoming the Goddess Brigid

Bells of Norwich – All shall be well again, I know. Love like the yellow daffodil…


Everyone got a snowdrop to take home and plant.

Imbolc – How to Celebrate Early Spring

by Mary Bennett   Imbolc (usually pronounced with a silent “b”) is a good time, if you’re like me, to finally put all of the Christmas decorations away and finalize your New Year’s resolutions!

I’d like to propose an annual snowdrop count on the labyrinth for the first Sunday of February. There are lots, so perhaps rounded off to the nearest 100!

Traditionally, Imbolc, half-way between the winter solstice and spring equinox, was (and is) a good time to look spring in the eye and say: come on in!!

Speaking of “come on in”, many neo-pagan groups welcome Brigid, the Celtic fire goddess, into their midst and thank her for her presence.

CBC  was talking about how people who went dry for January, are celebrating Feb-BREW-uary. Saint Brigid approves. Learn about the connection between Brigid and Beer here:

I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.

(Me, last year I discovered making kombucha, so that will be my febrewary drink of choice. I’d be happy to share if you’re interested.) Saving the world one SCOBY at a time.

Some seeds can be planted now, but perhaps indoors is safest.

As February 2nd is also Groundhog Day, and in Vancouver what that means is Banyen Book’s annual 20% off everything sale–including a great collection of pagan/earth spirituality books.

And if you’re still wanting more ideas, in the Catholic tradition, it’s Candlemas; you could buy and bless new candles for the year, melt down candle stubs to make all new candles or just light a whole lot of candles.

For all upcoming earth spirituality events, go to

You can sign up for the monthly e-newsletter there as well.

Questions? contact




Cakes for the Queen of Heaven – Feminist “Thealogy” curriculum starts Feb 6

Laurie Anderson and Paula Stromberg will co-facilitate In Ancient Times (Volume I of the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven program) starting on February 6, 2020, for five weeks on Thursday evenings 7 – 9 pm in the Fireside Room at the Vancouver Unitarian Centre

The course is limited to a maximum of 12 women. Pre-registration is required.

More information about the program can be found here:

If these dates don’t work for you, but you’d like to be on a wait list for any future offerings, please sign up here:

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

Here’s some information 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

Cost of the curriculum is $75 US. UCV has the curriculum for any member to borrow. Thank you to North Shore Unitarians for lending two copies to us as well

From the Cakes website:


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.


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 group, please contact:

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.

Bring your candle stubs (and crayons?) to make new candles from old

In late January/early February there will be a couple of chances to make candles in jars using new wicks and beeswax and combine with your old candle stubs. So don’t throw those holiday candles away!  Even the bits that you may have carved off the edges of pillar candles are welcome.

We’ll heat up all the wax and pour some new candles for you and our own rituals. This idea of adding dried herbs appeals, so I’ll make sure we have some dried lavender and rosemary available.

Bring a mason jar if you can.

Scented Candle Herb Plants – Learn About Using Plants In Candles


Exploring Women’s Groups while Discussing Authenticity / Becoming Who You Truly Are

Exploring Women’s Groups while Discussing Authenticity / Becoming Who You Truly Are will be one of three afternoon workshops at the January 4th Women’s Gathering. Facilitator: Sheila Resels

We will meet other women who are part of Unitarian Women’s Groups while discussing what we look for in Women’s Groups?  What we hope to find, to discover in Women’s Groups?

We will also examine authenticity. “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.  It’s about the choice to show up and be real.  The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown, research professor at the University of Houston.

We will respond to and share:

  • What does being authentic (“inner authenticity”) and living authentically (“outer authenticity”) mean to you?
  • What experiences, either intentional or unintentional, have developed your authenticity? Does authenticity come naturally with age, or does it have to be consciously achieved?
  • How do you nurture authentic experiences in your day to day life?
  • Much of modern North American life and of our personal experience of life is defined by mass culture and electronic media. In what ways do these outlets contribute to or take away from authentic experience?
Space is limited. You must pre-register.
By donation to the Refugee fund.

The Mystery Workshop

The Mystery Workshop facilitated by Laurie Anderson will be one of three afternoon workshops at the January 4th Women’s Gathering.
We’ll explore:
  • What does it mean to embrace mystery?
  • What do I do when I don’t know what to do?
  • How do I learn to go with the flow (when I’d much rather feel in control)?
  • Trust in organic unfoldings?  What?  How?  Huh?
Join with some curious women in conversation, creativity, and connection as we dive into exploring the Mystery…and maybe even hearing its voice.
Space is limited. You must pre-register.
By donation to the Refugee fund.

December Festivities – Atheists, Pagans, Christians — Everyone — Welcome!

Whatever your spiritual path(s) and tradition(s), you might well find a gathering (or two) that will suit your current approach to the winter holidays.

December 1st starts the season with our choir concert. They sing for us and then provide refreshments after wards as well.

You can be sure to find a mix of Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Pagans and, of course, Unitarians,  at most of the upcoming events. Indeed some people identify with two or more of those labels.

Our Christmas Eve service does take a look at the Christian story of Jesus’ birth but unlike most other churches, we also honour other mid-winter holy days such as Solstice and Hanukkah. A favorite of many is the section on  “Christmas with an attitude” which is always a humorous even ironic take on the whole season. Whatever your current beliefs, you can celebrate with us in a non-dogmatic ambiance.

The evening Candlelight Service on December 15th is one of music and poetry and one of the most beautiful services of our congregational year. We share a light potluck afterwards. This might be a time to connect with old friends or meet new ones. Many appreciate the fact that this date comes with  no expectations or obligations.

Our earth spirit group is planning a Winter Solstice/Yule event and we encourage families to come along. There will be dancing, and meditating, and lantern making, and labyrinth walking and, most important of all, feasting. This year a focus will be “feasting in all directions” – where four altars will be set up to include foods corresponding to the direction and element of that table.

Check out the events list and calendar for details on these and more events.


Come and meet Margot Adler while the veil is still thin

Every year, Rev. Steven Epperson writes scripts for our Unitarian and Universalist ancestors to address us from the other side. UCV members then enter to the opening bars of the Twilight Zone and address our congregation, someimes with a challenge. Among the four “guests from the past” this year will be Wiccan priestess and UU Margot Adler, author of Drawing Down the Moon.

Here’s information about the service.

Here’s a wikipedia entry about Margot Adler.

It says:

Adler was a Wiccan priestess, an elder in the Covenant of the Goddess,[1] and she also participated in the Unitarian Universalist faith community.[1]

Here’s some background on her UU involvements

Some selected excerpts:

She was a member of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, a member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS), and a frequent speaker at national and regional Unitarian Universalist events.

Beacon Press published an expanded edition of Drawing Down the Moon in 1986. The next year Adler was a keynote speaker at the annual Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly (GA). A continental organization, the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) was formed and was granted affiliate status with the UUA in 1988. Adler was a member of CUUPS and served on the board. She joined the All Souls congregation in New York City in 1992 and participated in the activities of its Women’s Alliance. She would speak at numerous Unitarian Universalist affiliated events over the next twenty years.

Adler saw Paganism as the spiritual side of feminism which rejected the hierarchy of monotheism. She thought monotheism was “imperialism in religion.” In 2005 Adler spoke at the annual Southwest Unitarian Universalist Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas. There was still some resistance in Unitarian Universalist women’s circles toward the Pagan movement despite the fact that “Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions” had been named the sixth source of our Unitarian Universalist Living Tradition. In her talk, Adler explained how much pagan spirituality and ritual had contributed to Unitarian Universalist worship; from croning and water ceremonies, to walking the labyrinth, spiral dances, drumming, and—perhaps most importantly for Margot—chanting, a practice she often introduced at women’s gatherings.

Adler presented her theories about vampires to the Second International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women in October 2012 in Marosvásárhely, Romania. In her keynote speech, Adler compared America’s twenty-first century fascination with vampires to that experienced in Great Britain at the close of the nineteenth century when Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, had been published. She theorized that the two cultures were similar in experiencing the end of empire and perhaps also sharing a view of themselves as evil; the British sucking the blood from colonies while America was sucking oil through powerful multinational corporations. She published Out for Blood in 2013, and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side the following year.

In 2013 Adler placed books from her parent’s collections into the “Margot Adler Collection” at the Adler Graduate School in Richfield, Minnesota. Alfred Adler’s papers were donated to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Transcripts and audio copies of some of Margot Adler radio broadcasts can be found at,,,, and YouTube.

And here’s something I didn’t know:

Her father was a psychiatrist who helped continue the work of his father, the distinguished Viennese psychiatrist Alfred Adler, who was first an ally and later an ideological adversary of Freud.

Huff Post article after her death.

Margot Adler Memorial Page on Facebook

New York Times article on her death:


CUUPS Facebook Page


UU World Article

Why I am a UU Pagan



Fall on the Labyrinth – Please help yourself to mint, chives etc.

Calendula in various stages: full bloom to full seed. Planted judiciously it will grow year round.
Apple mint in pot on west pathway near hedge. Cranesbill geranium (pale pink flowers) in ground in front.
Pineapple mint (left) and peppermint (right)
Golden Lemon thyme. Along with red creeping thyme, these were two of the plants we purchased that correspond to the west thanks to funding from Vancouver Foundation
Echinacea gone to seed. The birds are enjoying it! We may wait till spring to divide and spread seed around now.

Some of our plants are dying down and going to seed.

Soon the mint, chives and various other herbs will die down to rest over the winter.

You are invited to pick as much as you can possibly take–there are several kinds of mint go dry for tea or enjoy fresh.

Some like the echinacea will be ready to divide and transplant. Lots of calendula seedlings and seeds still doing well.

We’d like to share our rudbeckia, strawberry plants, lambs’ ears and chives. Let us know if you’d like some so we can dig enough up for you.

We have for sharing (but not as desperate to give away!) garlic chives, grape hyacinth bulbs, sage cuttings and mint.

See more photos of the labyrinth through the seasons here.