The Wheel of the Year refers to the cycles of the sun, the turning of the seasons and the core cycles of birth, death, and regeneration. The major earth holidays are the solstices, which represent the longest and shortest days of the year, and the equinoxes, which mark the beginning of spring and fall, when day and night are equal. Originally these fire festivals were agriculturally significant, based on planting, cultivating, harvesting, and storing food. Today, we honor these ancestral traditions and our vital connection to Mother Earth.
The Web is a Unitarian Universalist symbol of interdependence and interconnectedness of all earthly beings. It is also a manifestation of nature’s constant cycle of energy to support life on earth. Earth spirituality arises from the understanding that we are not separate from nature, but ARE, nature. The earth is our Mother. She is the Literal womb of Life. The concept of the earth as a Living Being, Gaia, is ancient. This personification of spirit, as goddess and God, connects our consciousness of all living things to a language of the heart and soul. We learn to Represent and interact with the natural world that surrounds us, therefore grounding and honoring spirit in the rhythms of nature. The earth is sacred and its spirituality is universal and inclusive. The practices, celebrations and ministries create caring and healing communities to support the planet and live our best life.
At UUCL we hold earth holiday celebrations and pagan rituals to celebrate the seasons’ arrivals and passing with music, meditation, chants, dances and readings within a sacred circle.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
The Faith of UU Pagans
Jessica Zebrine Gary, Editor
Nearly every Earth-centered tradition honors the sanctity of nature as it manifests through the seasonal cycle of the year and the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. By honoring these cycles through rituals, Pagans have the opportunity to participate in the sacredness of nature. Pagans find inspiration in all world mythologies. Many honor the duality between a female Goddess and the male God. Pagans hold a strong belief in humanity’s “original blessedness” rather than “original sin”. Sexuality and the body are considered sacred. They are encouraged to honor their own experience above all else. They are encouraged to connect directly to the Divine through their own spiritual practice.
There is a deliberate intention to make changes in the world. Because of a deep belief in the interconnectedness between all things, animate and inanimate, many Pagans view themselves as co-creators of reality. Recognizing that change is an inherit part of reality, Pagans attempts to control some changes for their own purposes or for their perception of the greater good. Few Pagans believe in hell. Many Pagans fight stereotypes of “Satanism” and “Devil-worship”, though these concepts have little to do with modern Paganism.
Many Pagans have found spiritual homes in Unitarian Universalist congregations and many UU’s have found earth-center theology in their search for truth and meaning. Both Paganism and Unitarian Universalism honor the inherent worth and dignity of all people, encourage direct experience of mystery and wonder, and honor the interconnected web of all existence. Both focus on the sacredness of the present world rather than on the afterlife.
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans: http://www.cuups.org/
Sacred Well Coven: http://www.sacredwell.org/
The Women’s Memorial Room
At UUCL, the Sanctuary extension is named The Women’s Memorial Room as designated by our founders more than a hundred years ago. The stained glass windows name historical women grouped in categories as Mothers, Angels of Caring, Teachers, Scientists, Healers, etc. Portraits show spiritual and religious women. In 2016, Rev. Anne Mason gifted us Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion residing above the door, and currently, primitive figures and goddesses from around the world have been placed on the mantle and sills as representations of the Divine Feminine. These images have been collected, and displayed, by members and friends. The UUCL Earth Spirituality ministry, Web & Wheel, honor these goddesses as the female archetypes of Mother Nature, Gaia, Spirit of Life, She Who Shall Not Be Named as well as specific divinities of traditions and cultures.. Viewing is encouraged and contributions are welcome.
Earth Spirituality references:
- The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
- Earth Path by Starhawk
- The World is Your Oracle by Nancy Vedder-Shults
- Walking An Ancient Path by Karen Tate
- The Pagan Book of Living and Dying by Starhawk
- Pagan Spirituality by River and Joyce Higginbotham
- The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler
Further Reading: The Labyrinth Committee