Egyptian Summer Solstice

Denton CUUPS 13th Annual Egyptian Summer Solstice
Saturday, June 25
gathering begins at 7:00 PM, ritual begins promptly at 7:30 PM

“What is below is like that which is above,
and what is above is like that which is below.
They work to accomplish the wonders of Ma’at.
May offerings of every kind come forth in abundance,
Like all things which flow forth from Ma’at.”
the Emerald Stela, Liturgy of Offerings.

 

The ancient Egyptians had rituals to mark the turning of the seasons, to establish the ways of balance in life. For our 13th annual Egyptian Summer Solstice, we will adapt these rituals of Khoiak and Shura to our place and time.

We will honor the Neteru, the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Egypt. And we will commit ourselves to live in balance, to honor the land on which we live, the blessed dead, and the ways of Ma’at.

Please bring an item of food or drink to share after the ceremony. Donations of 2-3 dollars to help offset expenses will be appreciated but are not required.

At the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
1111 Cordell Street
Denton, TX 76201

11 500 British Museum

Beltane Circle Saturday May 7

Beltane 2015 03a

Gathering begins at 7:00 PM
Ritual begins promptly at 7:30 PM

Inside all of us is hope. Inside all of us is fear. Inside all of us is adventure. Inside all of us is a wild thing.” – Maurice Sendak

Come and join us for our celebration of Beltane, the Celtic fire festival, as we honor the wildness of Nature, as well as the wildness in ourselves. With music, dancing, our traditional Maypole Dance, and the flame of community, we welcome you to join us in our wild rumpus!

This will be an outdoor, family-friendly circle. Due to building reconstruction, we have no nursery and are unable to provide childcare.

Please bring an item of food or drink to share after the ceremony. As always, a donation of a dollar or three to help defray costs are appreciated, but not required.

If you have any questions, please contact John Beckett at JohnFranc@aol.com or 972-948-9211.

at the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship – 1111 Cordell Street – Denton, TX 76201

DIRECTIONS: From I-35, exit US-380 (University Drive) eastbound. Go approximately 1.8 miles east on University, then turn right (south) onto Fulton Street. Go three blocks, turn right (west) on Cordell. DUUF is on the left, on the southwest corner of Fulton and Cordell – our illuminated sign is on the corner.

Ostara, the Spring Equinox

Come celebrate Ostara, the Spring Equinox!

Saturday, March 12
gather at 7:00 PM
ritual begins promptly at 7:30 PM

History and archaeology show us that our ancestors worshiped the Divine as feminine, masculine, and sometimes both. While more recent myths have focused entirely on the masculine, this year’s Ostara ritual will focus on the feminine. Come celebrate the Goddess as Divine Mother, as we welcome her manifestation in the coming Spring into our lives.

Please bring an item of food or drink to share after the ceremony. Donations of a dollar or three to help defray costs are appreciated, but not required.

This ritual is suitable for all ages. Due to building reconstruction, we have no nursery and are unable to provide childcare.

If you have any questions, please contact John Beckett at JohnFranc@aol.com or 972-948-9211.

at the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship – 1111 Cordell Street – Denton, TX 76201

DIRECTIONS: From I-35, exit US-380 (University Drive) eastbound. Go approximately 1.8 miles east on University, then turn right (south) onto Fulton Street. Go three blocks, turn right (west) on Cordell. DUUF is on the left, on the southwest corner of Fulton and Cordell – our illuminated sign is on the corner.

Goddess Offering Jeanne Lloyd

artwork courtesy of Jeanne Lloyd

 

Recommended Reading List

Here’s the recommended reading list from today’s Introduction to Modern Pagan Religion class. If you’re looking for something that’s not on this list, leave a question in the comments and we’ll see what we can dig up.

book shelvesBasics

Wicca, A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner – Scott Cunningham. Start here. This was recommended to me when I started 20 years ago and it’s still the best introduction there is. It’s written from a Wiccan perspective, but 98% of it is applicable to any Neopagan path. Easy to read, easy to understand, and most importantly, easy to put into practice.

The Spiral Dance – Starhawk. Another classic of contemporary Paganism. I found her approach to be too radically political for my center-left tastes, but I’ve been told the 20th Anniversary Edition has commentary that tones some of that down. Politics aside, the rituals in Spiral Dance are excellent and are great to use either as is or as a guide for writing your own.

Creative Visualization – Shakti Gawain. This is a “New Age” book rather than Pagan (old joke – Q: what’s the difference between New Age and Pagan? A: one decimal place in the price), but it does a very good job of teaching visualization skills, which are essential for performing magic. Short, to the point, and effective.

Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic – Phyllis W. Currott.  An introductory book on Wicca that is also helpful for the intermediate practitioner.

Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies – Christine Kraemer.  A very good introduction to what Pagans believe, and also an explanation of common theological terms and schools of thought from a Pagan perspective.  John’s review of it is here.

Ritual

Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work – Isaac Bonewits. I have the first edition, titled Rites of Worship. Isaac writes from a Wiccan/Druid perspective, but the concepts and processes he describes will work in just about any religious setting. If you want to understand why some religious services leave you energized and others put you to sleep, read this book.

The Elements of Ritual – Deborah Lipp. This is written from a traditional Wiccan perspective, but Wicca has influenced most modern Pagan traditions (for good and for ill), so it’s applicable to most of us. Lipp does an excellent job of deconstructing Wiccan liturgy and explaining the symbolism in it – I particularly like her description of the traditional circle casting as a ritual re-enactment of the Creation of the Universe. Interestingly, Lipp is Isaac Bonewits’ ex-wife.

Personal Practice

The Circle Within – Dianne Sylvan. There are very few books on Pagan personal practice – this is the best of them. It covers relationships with deities, ethics, meditation, and personal rituals. Paganism is more than the eight sabbats and the full and new moons – this book helps you figure out what to do every day.

The Veil’s Edge – Willow Polson. This book nominally deals with the Veil Between the Worlds, but its real value is in presenting a magical worldview in a way that is easy to understand and easy to put into practice. If What the Bleep Do We Know? had been written by Pagans, this is what it would look like. I led a group study of this book a few years back – it was very helpful. I’ve still got my outline if anybody wants it.

The Way of the Shaman – Michael Harner. This is the classic text on “core shamanism,” the processes and techniques common to most shamanic traditions. Shamanism can be a practice all its own, but as with visualization, the techniques are very helpful in working magic and communing with deities.

Classics

The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell. The book is good, the 6-hour videos/DVDs are better. This began in 1988 as a PBS special, with Bill Moyers interviewing Campbell about his work and his views on mythology, which focus on universal themes found in myths around the world. PBS still shows this occasionally, especially at pledge drive time.

Witchcraft Today – Gerald Gardner. The Witchcraft Act wasn’t repealed in Britain until 1951. In 1954, Gardner wrote this book presenting Wicca – the religion of witchcraft – to the mundane world. Yes, some of Gardner’s stories about the roots and origins of Wicca were more fantasy than fact, but this book is a good look at the early years of Wicca. We’ve come a long way.

Witchcraft For Tomorrow – Doreen Valiente. Valiente was one of Gardner’s high priestesses and a superb writer. She’s largely responsible for reworking The Charge of the Goddess into the beautiful poetry we have today. Lots of interesting historical information, and the spells, rituals, and poetry are classics.

The Mabinogion. This is the classic collection of Welsh myths. They weren’t written down until well into the medieval period, meaning they’ve been thoroughly Christianized. But the original Celtic heroes, deities, stories and concepts are still easy to follow. The version I have is translated by Patrick K. Ford.

The Norse Myths – Kevin Crossley-Holland. This is a translation of the Prose Edda, the collection of Norse myths written down in the 13th century by Icelander Snorri Sturluson. These stories are as much a part of our Anglo-Saxon cultural heritage as the Celtic myths of The Mabinogion. JRR Tolkien drew heavily on them in writing his Middle Earth novels.

History

The Book of English Magic – Philip Carr-Gomm.  A magical travelogue – a guidebook describing the important places to go, history to investigate, people to get to know, and sights to see. It doesn’t give you an in-depth look at any of them, but it does tell you enough for you to figure out what you want to do first and what can wait for later.  John’s review of it is here.

The Triumph of the Moon – Ronald Hutton. Every Wiccan, Druid, Heathen, and other modern Pagan needs to read this book. Hutton is Professor of History at the University of Bristol in England – this is a serious look at the origins and development of Wicca, and through it (directly or indirectly), most other modern Pagan traditions. The book is literally hard to read – it’s printed in 8-point type. But if you want to separate the truth of the origins of modern Paganism from the fantasy, misinformation, and outright lies, you need to read this book.

The Great Transformation – Karen Armstrong. This book has very little to do with ancient paganism and nothing to do with modern Paganism. It’s Armstrong’s history of the Axial Age, the relatively short period about 2600 years ago when several major religions were founded/developed, including Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Judaism. For those coming to Paganism from the monotheistic religions, The Great Transformationdoes a good job of explaining the religious history nobody taught in Sunday School. And it reminds us that all religions – old or new – need a strong this-world ethical component. If you want something that focuses solely on the three Western monotheistic religions, try Armstrong’s A History of God.

 

An Introduction to Modern Pagan Religion

Saturday, February 27, 2016
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Are you curious about modern Pagan religion? Would you like to hear about it from people who’ve been practicing it for years? Are you on a Wiccan, Druid, or another Pagan spiritual path and would like some live instruction to complement your reading and other solitary practice? Have you outgrown the many Wicca 101 books but are unsure how to move on?

The Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans will present An Introduction to Modern Pagan Religion on Saturday, February 27. This will be our 6th time holding this popular class. We’ll cover the beliefs and practices of our ancient ancestors, the origins of Wicca and other modern Pagan religions, basic spiritual concepts and how different Pagans understand them, the role of Nature in our beliefs and practices, and the essentials of personal spiritual practice.

The class will be led by Cynthia Talbot, an anthropologist who’s been a practicing Witch for over 20 years and is our CUUPS Treasurer, and John Beckett, the Coordinating Officer of Denton CUUPS and a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.

There is no charge for this class, but donations are requested. This class is “family friendly” and is appropriate for older children. We are unable to provide childcare for younger children at this event.

If you have any questions, please contact John Beckett at JohnFranc@aol.com or 972-948-9211

Intro to Modern Pagan Religion class

Changing the Name of our YahooGroup

We have changed the name of our YahooGroups e-mail list from D-CUUPS to DentonCUUPS, to bring it into harmony with our Facebook page and with the name of this website. If you have the YahooGroup bookmarked or if you have it in your e-mail address book, you’ll need to change to the new address.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/DentonCUUPS/info

If all you want to do is continue to receive Denton CUUPS announcements, no action is necessary.

If you aren’t on our e-mail list, please consider signing up for it. Messages sent via our YahooGroup are delivered to everyone on the list, while Facebook throttles posts made on this page according to their mystical algorithm. Our YahooGroup is a moderated, low-volume, announcements-only list.

More Info on the DUUF Fire

Here are some links to other stories on the fire at our church, the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Here’s an article on The Wild Hunt:  http://wildhunt.org/2015/12/denton-cuups-cancels-yule-ritual-due-to-arson.html

One from the Denton Record-Chronicle:  http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20151218-church-hopes-for-quick-repairs.ece

And commentary from Denton CUUPS Coordinating Officer John Beckett: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2015/12/arson-at-yule.html

We will be back in the sanctuary for Imbolc, and we expect to have full use of the building by Ostara.

hymnals

photo by Rev. Pam Wat