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.

Forest Walk – September 2020

Pacific Spirit Park, Sept 12, 2020 | The haze in this photo is not a typical West Coast mist or fog in early Fall, but rather smoke from forest fires burning in Washington State, while California is experiencing its worst forest fire season ever, reminding us of the looming climate crisis and the need for climate action.


Picnic, Chat and Labyrinth Walk

We sat outside, ate the lunches we’d brought (or purchased from across the street) and walked one or more labyrinths.

Mary brought her plarn (yarn made from plastic bag strips) and a spiral was laid out under the tree nearby. (See photo for how plarn is made with strips of plastic bags. Yes, more bags are appreciated, especially purple, blue, orange, red in that order.)
Several of us enjoyed being on UCV grounds on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier Donna brought Mary and 50 or so bricks for enhancing the labyrinth pathways and we’ll do more of that. (Help for unloading, transporting, placing bricks very welcome). Thanks Way and Vivian for your help.

Catherine played her concertina for us. It was a lovely sunny afternoon with old friends and new.

Discovered “free dirt” near compost bins and moved some to cover dried leaves. Help with more of that would be appreciated as well. And of course weeding. If you’re there and you see grass amongst the plants, please pull it out!


O Canada 2021 – Twelve days of honouring celebrations?

Next year, 2021, let’s celebrate a whole collection of summer holidays (holy days) for one grand summer festival honouring all people and other beings while bearing witness to the challenges that call Unitarians to keep on working for justice…

My covenant group met on Canada Day in 2020 and we shared some thoughts about what we liked and disliked about Canada Day. There were many things we appreciated about Canadian culture and political systems, and also many areas where we felt we still fell short and needed to keep on working. Following are some celebrations we could perhaps honour next year leading up to a more complete and satisfying celebration of Canada Day. (Ah…but who amongst us might take the lead!)

2021   Jun 20 Sunday World Refugee Day

This event honors the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

Jun 20 Sunday Fathers Day

Father’s Day is an unofficial holiday to celebrate fathers around the world—although the date for celebration varies.

Jun 21 Monday Summer Solstice from a scientific viewpoint

It’s the scientific start to summer in the Northern Hemisphere, when this half of the world tilts toward the sun.

Litha – Summer solstice from a Wiccan viewpoint

The Solstice Teaches Us   A poem from the UUA Worship Web

Jun 21 Monday National Indigenous Peoples Day

A day to celebrate and learn more about the cultural diversity of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.

Jun 21 Monday International Day of Yoga

Yoga is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow as a sport and a lifestyle. Traditional yoga has a meditative and spiritual core in addition to the physical exercises. The result is a wide variety of schools, practices, and goals within the yoga community. It is because of yoga’s holistic approach to body and mind that the UN decided in 2014 to dedicate June 21 to this ancient tradition.

“Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress.” said Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General.

Jun 23 Wednesday Public Service Day

The United Nations’ Public Service Day is held on June 23 each year. It recognizes that democracy and successful governance are built on the foundation of a competent civil service. The day aims to celebrate the value and virtue of service to the community.

Jun 23 Wednesday International Widows’ Day

International Widows’ Day was introduced to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their children in many countries. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 and is observed annually on June 23.

Jun 24 Thursday Fête nationale du Québec (FR)

Fête nationale du Québec (EN)     AKA Ste-Jean-Baptiste Day  (EN)

The people of Québec celebrate their national holiday with more than 750 celebrations held across the province on 23 and 24 June. Organized by nearly 20,000 volunteers, the festivities of the Fête nationale include more than 1,050 events and 360 bonfires, in addition to some of the largest public gatherings in Québec.

Jun 25 Friday Day of the Seafarer

In 2010, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), decided to designate June 25th as the International Day of the Seafarer as a way to recognize that almost everything that we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly affected by sea transport.  The purpose of the day is to give thanks to seafarers for their contribution to the world economy and the civil society; and for the risks and personal costs they bear while on their jobs.

Jun 26 Saturday  International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world. 

Jun 26 Saturday  International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Rehabilitation centres and human rights organizations around the world celebrate the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26 each year. The day serves as a reminder to people that torture is a crime. This event gives everyone a chance to unite and voice their opinions against human torture.

Organizations, including the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and Amnesty International, have played an active role in organizing events around the world to promote the day. Activities may include photo exhibitions, the distribution of posters and other material to boost people’s awareness of issues related to human torture, and television advertisements.

Jun 27 Sunday Canadian Multiculturalism Day

Discover the significance of multiculturalism in Canada — ensuring that all citizens keep their identities, take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging.

Jun 30 Wednesday International Asteroid Day

June 30 is the anniversary of the Tunguska impact, also known as the Tunguska event. On that day a large explosion occurred in the sky over the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia.

It destroyed about 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of the forest in the area, flattening about 80 million trees. The area is sparsely populated, and there were no official reports of human casualties.

It is thought that an asteroid or a comet was responsible for the blast. The Tunguska event is considered to be the largest asteroid impact on Earth in recorded history.

2021 Jul 1 Thursday Canada DayUCV’s Patrick Dubois’ 2020 Musical Tribute

What do we need to do as Canadian Unitarians to help make Canada Day a time of celebration for all people and not just a settler’s celebration?



The Butterfly Way ProjectThe David Suzuki Foundation

Environmental Rights

Climate Solutions

Further information on 2021 holidays worldwide:

United Nations Holidays

UUA Worship Web – a poem on summer


  • Animal Rights Awareness Week – (Mid June) 13-19 June 2021?
  • Fish are Friends, Not Food Week! – (Last Week of June) 20-26 June 2021?
  • National Pollinator Week – 20-26 June 2021?

Red Tulips in full bloom on the labyrinth

On January 8th, Patti planted the bulbs given to Mary Bennett as a Green Streets gardener that celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of WWII.

These are Liberation 75’ (website  As intended they were in bloom for May 5th.

Ours are some of 110,000 tulips planted around Vancouver including at Mountainview Cemetery.

Here’s an article about the project:

And another one:

And from the City’s Green Streets coordinator: Enjoy a virtual tour or go check out some of the gardens for yourself! 



Paganism 101 Wait list – Sign up for next year

Louise Bunn’s Paganism 101 course was offered as a once-a-month session for 10 months with a team of facilitators in 2018-19 and then 2019-20.. Both years we had an extensive wait list. Because of covid-19, the 2019-20 group will complete their program in the fall.

UCV now has a database for ensuring people can join the wait list and we can easily send updates when a new course is starting, likely in January, 2021. Please complete the form below if you want to be notified when the course is next being offered. Contact  with any questions.

More information here.


“Enough angels in heaven, more needed in hell.” – Alastair McIntosh

The UK Unitarians Annual Conference 6-9 April 2020 was billed as Being Together – A three-day virtual gathering for spiritual connection. Mary Bennett and I, both from Vancouver, signed up to hear the keynote address at the conference on 8 April via zoom. It was scheduled in a Greenwich evening time slot (conveniently a Pacific mid-morning time slot!) and featured Alastair McIntosh speaking with 150 participants on the theme “The Revolution Will be Spiritual”. Alastair is described as an independent writer, broadcaster, speaker and activist who is involved in a wide range of contemporary issues, from land reform, globalization and nonviolence to psychology, spirituality and ecology. His forthcoming book ‘Riders on the Storm’ explores the science, psychology and spirituality of climate change, and of the need to build soul and meaning in these troubled times. Alastair is a Quaker, and is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Glasgow University.

Meeting Safeguards – There were many safeguards in place for this zoom gathering to reduce the chance of zoom-bombing and meeting hijacking. All of this was carefully explained by the host to those who had been admitted. There was a password, a waiting room, all microphones were muted and under the control of the host, and chats and video sharing were disabled. The co-hosts, (zoom-bouncers for the zoom-bombers), watched and listened for malicious interlopers and were ready to eject them permanently from the meeting if some inappropriate video content was displayed. Happily, there were no disruptions.

The keynote theme – Alastair spoke on the “the interiority of the spiritual”, ethical activism in the form of small acts of kindness, and drew from a diverse range of spiritual writings including the Upanishads, the Bible, the work of American theologian Walter Wink, and WB Yeats’ poem, The Second Coming.

The 150 participants were divided randomly into 20 breakout rooms afterward for a short discussion of what we’d heard and how we were doing during the pandemic. Like many zoom activities, these small groups were intimate and interesting. My small group included participants from congregations in York and London in the UK, and me from Vancouver.

A recording of the video is expected to appear soon. Watch for more at .

It is also linked at:

Recordings of some of the other sessions can be found here:

“We shall be known by the company we keep”

UK General Assembly 2020 Closing Worship Service

Seventy-five participants joined in the Thursday (GMT) closing worship service of the three-day all-online annual General Assembly of the UK Unitarians. I was touched by this statement of gratitude, so suitable to our time, by Kate Brody McKenna, one of the worship leaders:

“Let us treasure the spirit that has danced between us on our screens.”

Service leaders were Rev Bob Janis-Dillon, Warrington Unitarians (right); Rev Kate Brady McKinnon, Bury Unitarians (left), and Rev Anna Jarvis, Monton Eccles Manchester Unitarians (below right).

Closing choral piece was We Shall be Known by MaMuse
(Worth hearing!)


Additional links added by Mary:


Paganism 101

Paganism 101

Paganism 101 is a 10-session curriculum created by Louise Bunn, a member of our congregation.
Today’s Pagans revere the Earth and all its creatures. We see all life as interconnected, and we strive to attune ourselves to the cycles of nature. Our practices are rooted in a belief in immanence – the concept of divinity residing within.

The many modern pagans who have found a home in the Unitarian community are grounding our work in the rational structure, the intellectual balance, and the humanist core values that have descended to us from the Enlightenment. We’re working to develop a religiosity that is entirely compatible with, and complementary to, modern Unitarian rationality.

Paganism 101 is an experiential curriculum that will enable participants to conduct Pagan rituals on their own as independent practitioners. It introduces the practices, beliefs, and history of Modern Pagan spirituality, a nature-based worldview that is deeply rooted in Western Esoteric traditions. It is an active and powerful way to engage with Unitarianism’s Sixth Source — Spiritual Teachings of  Earth-centred Traditions that Celebrate the Sacred Circle of Life and Instruct us to Live in Harmony with the Rhythms of Nature.

We have an Earth Spirituality e-newsletter and a monthly Earth Spirit Circle open to all. Click here and follow the links.


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



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


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



Suvetar (Goddess of Spring)

Choreographer:  Kevin Meyers – USA

Album:  Sjofn

Artist:  Gjallarhorn – Sweden



Irish Dance (Honouring St Patrick’s Day)

Music:  your choice of Irish music

Steps:  skip and have fun like the children in this video

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

Music:  Irish Tipple

Choreographer:  Barbara Driscoll


Winds on the Tor (Fresh Spring winds)

Choreographer:  Glastonbury Wed. eve dance group

Music Title:  Young Brown Cow (traditional)

Artist: unknown



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


Dance:  (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



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

Choreographer:  Collin Harrison, UK

Artist:  Sydney Carter


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

Dance video:


My Prayer (candle dance)

Music: Greek

Music title: Prosefhi

Album:  Odos Nefelis’88

Artist: Haris Alexiou, Greece


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


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.

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.