Book Group – Pagan Voices

Note: This class series has ended. This is now an archived post.

50650260_10155963824477011_3837864956162736128_n(Book published by Skinner House Press. Image © Kishgraphics)

This 6 session book group meets on 3rd Sundays. We will be reading and discussing selections from “Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism.” It is drop-in friendly and free of cost. Donations always welcome toward the MG scholarship fund. This benefits students who wish to take our tuition classes but need financial assistance.

Each month on 3rd Sunday we gather in Room 1 after coffee hour and read the selection of the month out loud and discuss. While you don’t need a book to drop-in and check it out, your experience will be enriched if you do get your own text.


Volunteer teachers takes turns facilitating a session where 2 selections are read and discussed.  Email us if you would like to co-host and share your two favorite selections from the book.

Dates Host(s) Selections
Jan 20, 2019 Mary
  • “A Unitarian Universalist Journey into Paganism” by Shirley Ann Ranck
  • “Vibrant, Juicy, Contemporary: Or, Why I am a UU Pagan” by Margot Adler
Feb 17, 2019 Cat
  • “Celebrating the Seasons” by Selena Fox
  • “Pagan Depth in Unitarian Universalism: Or Why UU Polytheism is Not an Oxymoron” by John Beckett
Mar 17, 2019 Dev Inderjeet
  • “Paths and Patterns” by Misty Sheehan
  • “Touched by a Goddess” by Om Prakash
Apr 21, 2019 Mary
  • “Drumbeats in the Sanctuary ” Carole Etzler Eaglehart
  • “Earth Song: pagan Chant in UU Churches” by Nancy Veder- Shults
May 19, 2019 Michael
  • “Affirming LGBTQ Identity in UU Paganism” by Michael Walker
  • “Welcoming the Gods into Our Congregation by Sue Nading”
June 16, 2019 Lesley
  • “Cultural Sharing and Misappropriation” by Carol Bodeau
  • “Designing Ritual for All” by Maggie Beaumont


In early 2014, the board of CUUPS shared about a potential book project with Skinner House Press on Pagan Voices within the Unitarian Universalist Association. After much conversation, and weighing the options, Rev. Shirley Ranck and Jerrie Hilderbrand agreed to take it on and work on it together.

The result is a compilation of essays from people who followed Pagan and Earth-Centered traditions and/or thinking of many kinds.

“Similar to the other theologies honored in UU sources and principles, Paganism and Earth-Centered voices were as diverse as humanity. We are not a once size fits all. There is no dogma or one way being the right way. We challenge the Pagan who comes to us with a fixed way of thinking.”

You can read more about the book origins here. 


Moon Circle: Third Eye and Crown Chakras (June 2019)

Our sixth Moon Circle session focuses on the third chakra and the crown chakra.

Sri Aurobindo:

That within us which seeks to know and to progress is not the mind but something behind it which makes use of it.

Throat Chakra- Ajna

Element: light

Concerns: to know, to perceive, intuition

Health and wellness issues: blindness, headaches, nightmares

Herbs: mugwort, star anise, acacia, saffron, clary sage

Sound: seed sound Om

Tarot: High Priestess

Stones: lapis lazuli, amethyst, quartz

Animals: owl

Other deities: Shakti in her throat chakra aspect called Hakini, Hecate, Isis,  Athena, Apollo, Thoth


Crown Chakra- Sahasrara

Element: Thought

Concerns: understanding, bliss

Health and wellness issues: depression, alienation, confusion, apathy

Herbs: lotus, gotu kola

Stones: diamond, amethyst, quartz

Animals: owl

Deities: Ama-kala (upward moving Shakti), Shiva, Varuna, Zeus, Inanna, Odin, Obatala


Homework is “pick your level.”

Thinking Questions:  

Deep Listening Questions:

“Close both eyes to see with the other.” –Rumi
What do you think it means to see with your third eye?
How do psychic messages usually come to you?
Describe a mystical experience that you have had.
Small Choose one from each category




Medium: All the above PLUS Choose an article or two from this category

Large: All the above PLUS

DIY Mix and match your own combo from above and/or select another working that interests you related to this month’s theme.

Moon Circle: Throat Chakra (May 2019)

Our fifth Moon Circle session focuses on the throat chakra with guidance from the angelic realm.

Throat Chakra- Vishuddha

Element: akasha or aether

Concerns: expression, listen to guidance, act on higher will

Health and wellness issues: ears, lungs, mouth, thyroid, respiratory, communication

Herbs: angelica root, basil, bergamot, chamomile, cypress, peppermint, spearmint

Fragrances: frankincense

Sound: musical note G, seed sound Ham

Planets: Mercury

Tree of Life Sephirot: Gevurah, Chesed, Da’at

Rune: ansuz

Tarot: The Hanged Man, The Hierophant

Stones: amazonite, aquamarine, chrysocolla, lapis lazuli, larimar, sodalite, turquoise 

Animals: hummingbird, wolf

Other deities: Shakti in her throat chakra aspect called Shakini, Ambara, Benzaiten, Bragi, Dian Y Glas, Hermes/Mercury, Lucifer, Melek Taus, Muses, Odin, Sadashiva, Saraswati


Homework is “pick your level.”

ThinkingQuestions: This month we study the throat chakra. We discuss listening to guidance and acting on our higher Will.

“I have just recovered the key to the lost staircase … the staircase in the wall … winds from the subterranean depths of the Ego to the high terraces crowned by stars.”

French writer and mystic, Romain Rolland

Deep Listening Questions:


Small Choose one from each category



Medium: All the above PLUS Choose an article or two on our deity and pantheon of the month

Large: All the above PLUS

DIY Mix and match your own combo from above and/or select another working that interests you related to this month’s theme.



Moon Circle: Heart Chakra (April 2019)

Our fourth Moon Circle session focuses on the heart chakra and the bodhisattva Kuan Yin.

Heart Chakra – Anahata

In Sanskrit, anahata means unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten.

Element: Air

Concerns: Love, Forgiveness, Compassion, Acceptance

Health and wellness issues: heart and breathing disorders, breast cancer,  chest pain, high blood pressure, passivity, immune system problems, muscular tension.

Herbs: Vervain, Angelica, Hops, Hawthorn, Basil, Tulsi, Rose, Motherwort, Lavender

Fragrances: Rose, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine

Sound: Yam

Planets: Venus

Tree of Life Sephirot: Tiferet (Tephereth)

Rune: Wunjo, Berkana

Tarot: Strength

Stones: Emerald, Rose Quartz, Green Aventurine, Tourmaline (Green, Pink, Watermelon), Pink Kunzite

Animals: Dove, Dog, Deer

Deities: Kuan Yin, Jesus, Vishnu, Krishna, Venus, Isis, Green Tara


Homework is “pick your level.”

ThinkingQuestions:  This month we study the heart chakra.

Deep Listening Questions:

“To me, the way of the witch has always been a heart path. As we align with the green world, with nature, and venerate nature as the physical manifestations of the divine, we are aligned with the green that has become associated with the heart chakra. Many mystics have found their spiritual awakening through nature and through the awakening of the love that connects all things.”

Christopher Penczak, The Living Temple of

Answer the following questions while thinking
about the previous quote:

Describe a time when you felt a sense of serenity and connection in nature.

How does your paganism and/or UU path help you to become aware of “the love that connects all things”?

Does a connection between nature and the heart chakra work for you?Why or why not?


“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world —
above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill
will, without enmity.”

– The Buddha (from the Metta Sutta)

Is “radiating boundless love towards the entire world” realistic? Why or why not?

How do you deal with difficult people in your life? Which spiritual tools do you use?


A common form of the Wiccan Rede (a pagan ethical statement) is “An’ ye harm none, do what ye will.”

What are some ways that we can avoid inflicting harm on other people?

How do you make amends after you have harmed someone else?


Small Videos/Exercices (Choose Two)


Medium: All the above PLUS Choose an article/video or two on our deity and pantheon of the month

Large: All the above PLUS

DIY Mix and match your own combo from above and/or select another working that interests you related to this month’s theme

Bach Original Flower Remedies

Official Website

How to Use Bach Flower Remedies

The following were used in our blend for the heart chakra…

Agrimony: Communicate Openly

Agrimony encourages the positive potential to open up, as well as communicate your real feelings. For those who hide a mountain of thoughts and inner turmoil behind their smile. Leave emotional discomfort in the past; face your emotion freely.

Chicory: Love Unconditionally

Chicory encourages the positive potential to selflessly take a step back and care for others without expecting anything in return. Care for the ones you love without becoming manipulative or overprotective. Take a step back, and love unconditionally.

Red Chestnut: Peace of Mind

Red Chestnut encourages the positive potential of peace of mind, to care for others with compassion but without the worry. Often a temporary feeling, anxious thoughts and worries can impact our relationships. Overcome the feeling of anxiety around others, and comfort your mind.

Water Violet: Connect

Water Violet encourages the positive potential to find warmer relationships with others in a calm, relatable way. Allow yourself to reach out and connect with others. Cultivate and connect with the
people that surround you.



Moon Circle: Solar Plexus Chakra (March 2019)

Our third Moon Circle session focuses on the Solar Plexus and the Germanic/Heathen deity Sunna.

Solar Plexus- Manipura

Element: Fire with Air.

Concerns: will, power, energy, self esteem, transformation, laughter, anger

Health and wellness issues: adrenal issues, anorexia/bulimia, anxiety, cirrhosis, codependency, diabetes, digestive issues, fear of rejection, indecisiveness, self image, ulcers

Herbs: calendula, carnation, chamomile, cinnamon, dandelion, ginger, helichrysum, juniper, lemon balm, marigold, milk thistle, Rosemary, sunflower, turmeric

Fragrances: amber, citrus, Florida Water, helichrysum, lemongrass

Sound: musical note E, seed sound RAM

Planets: Sun, Mars

Tree of Life Sephirot: Hod, Netzach

Rune: Sowilo

Tarot: The Sun, The Tower, Suit of Wands, Threes

Stones: amber, calcite (gold and honey), citrine, malachite, tiger’s eye, topaz

Animals: bear, lion, ram

Other deities: Shakti in her Solar Plexus chakra aspect called Lakini, Aine, Agni, Amaterasu, Apollo, Athena, Beaivi, Belenos, Brigid, Helios, Vishnu as Rudra, Lugh, Mithra, Pele, Ra, Saule, Sekhmet, Shamash, Sol, Sulis, Surya, Unelanuhi, Vulcan


Homework is “pick your level.”

ThinkingQuestions:  This month we study the solar plexus chakra. We discuss personal power and will

Deep Listening Questions:

“Explorations of power can be difficult, yet  we have chosen a path that deals with power. Many witches are uncomfortable with power yet it is a fundamental part of our tradition. Our paths are the paths to power. Our worship rituals direct and raise energy. Our magick is balanced with a certain power and our magick is the way we commune; we pray with the universe. […] We are active and empowered participants in creation.”

Christopher Penczak, The Living Temple of Witchcraft

What is power? Does power make you feel uncomfortable? What makes you feel empowered? (I.e. God(s)? Goddess? Nature? Universe? Higher power? Humanism?)

“There are two kinds of power. One is power over, which is always destructive, and the other is power from within, which is a transcendent and creative power.”

Starhawk, Dreaming the Dark

Do you think that “power over” is always destructive? Why do you think these distinctions are important to Goddess oriented feminist witches like Starhawk? Starhawk later mentions a third kind of power: “power-with,” pertaining to social power or influence among equals. When do you see “power-with” dynamics in your life?

“When we are in unhealthy fear, it is rooted in the ego, for the ego is what creates the illusion of being in control. The fear of the ego is that it will end, either through literal death or loss of self-identity, ego death. The ego doesn’t always serve our highest good. It often creates stagnant situations where rather than being forced to grow and shed an aspect of the ego, we keep our consciousness contracted in fear and retain the ego in its contracted form. We must identify, through introspective practices, the ego so that we transcend it and get it working for us.”

Christopher Penczak The Living Temple of Witchcraft

Do you feel that your ego gets in the way of your spiritual journey? If so, when do you notice your ego? What introspective practices have you tried to identify and transcend your ego?

Small Videos/Exercices (Choose Two)


Medium: All the above PLUS Choose an article/video or two on our deity and pantheon of the month

Sunna and Other Solar Goddeses


Large: All the above PLUS

DIY Mix and match your own combo from above and/or select another working that interests you related to this month’s theme.


Heathen Resources


Moon Circle: Sacral Chakra (February 2019)

Our second Moon Circle session focuses on the Sacral Chakra and the Yoruba deity Oshun.

Sacral Chakra: Svadhistana

Element: Water

Concerns: sensuality, pleasure, relationship, intuition, creativity, and joy

Health and wellness issues: gonads, ovaries, kidney/bladder, intestines, liver

Herbs: fennel, coriander, damiana

Essential Oils: orange, ylang ylang, jasmine

Sound: VAM

Planets: Mercury, Venus, Moon

Tree of Life Sephirot: Yesod

Rune: Fehu

Tarot: All Cups, The Moon, The High Priestess

Stones: Carnelian, Moonstone, Orange Tourmaline, Amber

Other deities and mythical beings: Freya, Aphrodite/Venus, Dionysus, Inanna, Hathor, Ostara, Eros, Kama, Erzulie Freda


Links to Music We Used in Ritual:

Deep Listening Questions:

  • Is it possible, or desirable, for sensuality to be connected with all, or many, of our actions?
  • Can the sensual be consistently felt in our daily lives?
  • Are healthy sexuality and relationship an integral part of your spirituality? Why/why not?
  • How does paganism deal with healthy sexuality in ways that may be different from other religions?
  • Is there a time when you have trusted your gut instincts over intellectual knowledge? If so, what happened?
  • What do you do just to play?
  • How do you incorporate creativity into your life?
  • Do you think that joy is connected to creativity?
  • When you were growing up, did your family encourage you to be a kid, or were you encouraged to be serious and responsible? How does that influence your life now?
  • Finish this sentence: I am beautiful when. . .  List as many things as you can think of.


Homework is “pick your level.”

Small level:

Medium level, all of the above plus:

Large level, all of the above plus:

pages 91 to 110 in The Living Temple of Witchcraft: Volume One, The Descent of the Goddess

Moon Circle: Root Chakra (January 2019)


Our first Moon Circle session focuses on the Root Chakra and the Hindu deity Ganesh/Ganesha.

Root Chakra- Muladhara

Element: Earth with Fire. We are rooted to the Earth and grounding is important for our well being. The Kundalini is understood as a fiery serpent energy that is coiled 3 and a half times as potential energy to be released. Kundalini is seated at the base of the spine— the root chakra.

Concerns: survival, grounding, security, stability

Health and wellness issues: adrenal issues, addiction, anxiety, arthritis, bone issues

Herbs: any roots (i.e High John, Mandrake, Angelica), sandalwood for Ganesh

Fragrances: earthy notes like patchouli, vetiver, cedarwood, sandalwood, musk

Sound: musical note C, seed sound LAM

Planets: Earth, Saturn

Tree of Life Sephirot: Malkuth

Rune: Uruz

Tarot: Pentacles, The Magician, The Devil

Stones: hematite, red jasper, smoky quartz, ruby, garnet, bloodstone

Other deities and mythical beings: Shakti in her root chakra aspect called Dakini, Cernunnos, Herne, Gaia, Gefjon, Anat, Demeter, Ceridwen, Archangel Auriel, Vajrapani, dragons, serpents, Ganesh’s mouse companion


Homework is “pick your level.”

ThinkingQuestions:  This month we study the Root Chakra and overcoming obstacles.Reflect on these questions:

1.) What are the circumstances we face in life that we would call adversity?

What are the lessons you have learned through adversity?

2.) What do you fear? Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you had to face your fears? What happened?

3.) What does “grounded” look like? Describe a person who is grounded in as much detail as you can. In what ways can you relate to that person?

4.) Who makes up your “tribe”? How connected do you feel to these people? How do you feel when you are around these people?

5.) Are there people, groups, programs or personal behaviors that increase your sense of security?  Are you involved in increasing the security of others?

6.) How important is your body as part of your spiritual path? Do you celebrate the body as part of the natural world? Do you seek solace in spiritual experience and an afterlife?

Small Moon Circle Block Orientation:Videos


Articles (Choose Two)


The Root Chakra/Muladhara:

Videos/Exercices (Choose one)

Articles (Choose Two)

Medium: All the above PLUSChoose an article or two on our deity and pantheon of the month



Large: All the above PLUS

DIY Mix and match your own combo from above and/or select another working that interests you related to this month’s theme


Chakras in Western Occult and Witchcraft

From The Living Temple of Witchcraft

Moon Circle: Persephone (Aug 2018)

For those taking the Moon Circle class in person, or wanting to follow along from home, here are this month’s links.


Homework is “pick your level.”  You are not expected to do all of these things.  These are ideas to help you decided what YOU want to study more.

For final projects, will you create a peg doll of a personal deity or one you studied this term.

 This month we study “Persephone” and “Finding Balance.”

Reflect on these questions:

  1. When have you felt vulnerable or that  your life was not in your control?
  2. Do you feel that outside forces or destiny rule  your life? Or do you have free will to chose?


  3. We are seeking balance in our lives. What does that seeking mean?  Is balance static or dynamic? What are we really looking for when we say we long for balance?


  4. Persephone went from shy girl attached to her mother to a full woman standing in her power. Do you feel you are a “woman/man standing in your power”?  A person full of confidence and desire, knowing what you want out of life? Where can you improve this in your life?


  5. Have you ever had to walk away from something good but safe in your life because there was a hope for something even better?


  6. Becoming the new Queen of the Underworld meant that Persephone had to leave her childish ways and accept adulthood. Have you ever had to “grow up” quicker than you would have liked? Has change ever forced you to accept things about yourself that you might not like?


  7. What is something from childhood that you would like to bring back or return to in your adulthood?

Small Read your two other deity sheets.

Medium: All the above PLUS

  • Try one charm from either deity sheet.
Large: All the above PLUS

DIY Mix and match your own combo from above and/or select another working that interests you related to this month’s theme/tradition.




Music From Ritual

August News

Thanks to those who attended the August 5 monthly meeting! Here are the notes if you missed it.  The next meeting is Sept 2 at NOON in Room 1. 

Thanks also to those who came to the August Kemetic Ritual.  The next one is Mabon on Sept 22. Please being a non-perishable donation for the food bank or the pet food bank.  Mabon ritual is our annual food drive one. Let’s make it a bountiful harvest!


Erzulie Freda Altar

This month’s photo is from the 2018 Fall Moon Circle Block 2 Facebook group by Thornbird Burroughs-McCagren.  It is a home altar devoted to Erzulie Freda.

Thornbird says, “I travel a great deal between my home here since moving to Orlando and my home in New Orleans. I am glad to get this chance to interact and get to know local people in The UU community. I am also so happy and shocked to see the (moon circle) block starting with Erzulie Freda. Being from New Orleans with creole voodoo in my blood she is my met tet. It makes me smile to see her being celebrated here! ”

If you want to share what lights your  spirit up email your photo to and tell us about it!



First Unitarian Church of Orlando tries to do an annual “Volunteer Opportunity Fiesta” during coffee hour where new members and existing members have a chance to see the active groups and figure out where they want to volunteer, join, share their time for the church program year.

Mystic Grove was tabling with all the other 1U groups at today’s Opportunity Fiesta. We do it one more time next Sunday Aug 26th.

If your UU congregation isn’t doing something like this, perhaps it is something to consider to help church members engage and help groups be more visible. We’re pretty visible as the pagan group because we do classes, rituals and more. But it helps the “invisible” teams like Audio/Visual, pulpit flowers, buildings and grounds committee, and so on that do a lot of “behind the scenes” work have their chance to come out too.


2018 Mabon Retreat Brochure Thumbnail 200wWe are having the Mabon Retreat — a special event that happens every 5 years or so.  You can download the brochure here.  Sign up  for early birdie registration on Aug 26 at our table at the Opportunity Fiesta.


Registration for the new July – Dec block is full for “in person” students!   We have space in the “Facebook Lite” discussion group  version of the class for distance learners.

We continue our study of various deities and esbat celebrations based on Gathering for Goddess by B. Melusine Mihaltses.  .

Looking ahead to the Jan-June 2019 block, we have two new Moon Circle teachers! Welcome Michael and Christi!


On August 17 we explored beginner acrylic painting and did two dandelion designs.  If you want to try them at home, these Art Sherpa tutorials and many more are at available on YouTube!

Are you interested in hosting a craft circle in Spring semester? Tell us your idea!



Movies are on summer break.  Do you have something you want to see? Email us!


Mystic Grove and Orlando Pagan Pride Day Committee are  co-hosting Pagan Pride 2018 on Sept 29th at the First Unitarian Church of Orlando! If you want to help out simply show up to any of these events.  Many hands make light work!

Aug 26, 2018 Pagan Pride Committee Planning Meeting
Sept 7, 2018 Craft Circle – Packing Pagan Pride Give Away Beads
Sept 27, 2018 Pagan Pride Baking Day
Sept 28, 2018 Pagan Pride Set Up Day & Volunteer Orientation
Sept 29, 2018 Orlando Pagan Pride Day 2018


We will be having a book table at Pagan Pride.  If you have books you have outgrown, considering donating them at any Craft Circle on 1st or 3rd Fridays or at the monthly meeting on 1st Sundays. If you cannot make it at one of these points, call the First Unitarian front office and see if you can bring them by at during business hours. (407) 898-3621.

We will be accepting them up to Sept 21.


Questions or more info?  Please email us at

February News


Thanks to those who came out for Imbolc 2017!

We have exciting news — First Unitarian is remodeling! 

Here’s what is coming up.

 Feb 12  Special Event First Unitarian Ground Breaking Ceremony 
Feb 16, 2017 Education Cosmos: Sagan 1
Feb 17, 2017 Craft Teaching Craft Circle: Ritual Cords
Feb 23, 2017 Education Cosmos: Sagan 2
Mar 2, 2017 Education Cosmos: Sagan 3
Mar 3, 2017 Education 1st Friday BYO Craft Circle


Due to remodel, we will now be meeting in the Wiggle Room of the Sanctuary. You can keep up with the campus renovation news  here.

Mar 5  Meeting 1st Sunday Monthly Meeting

Questions or more info?  Please email us at