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White Oak Grove CUUPS

Exploring Pagan Traditions in Rockford, IL

Moon Phases

Next Monday (January 17th) we enter the full moon cycle for the “Wolf Moon”.

Why Is It Called the Wolf Moon? According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the wolf moon is named as such because of legends from long ago. “It’s thought that January’s full Moon came to be known as the Wolf Moon because wolves were more likely to be heard howling at this time,” it says. This Wolf Moon is all about protection, security, and empowerment. Concentrate on self-care. It’s a good time to identify the the previously-unseen roadblocks that stand between you and your 2022 goals, and start letting go of the 2021 baggage you may not have even realized you were holding onto until now.

New Year’s Day Traditions

New Year's Traditions From Around The World | RitiRiwaz

This Saturday is New Year’s Day. Here are some traditions to think about –

Be Choosy About Your First Guest – The first person you allow through your doors in the New Year may set the tone. In Scotland, the Isle of Man and some other parts of Northern England, the “first footer,” as it was called, was extremely important. Tradition in those parts of the world states to select a man who is tall and dark (as a protection against Vikings), who would come with simple gifts of coal, salt, shortbread and whisky, representing the basic needs of heat, food and drink. Choosing wisely meant good luck for the upcoming year. Make sure the “first footer” has coins in their pocket to ensure prosperity next year.

Make a wish jar – Write your wishes for next year and store them in a jar. Read them next New Year’s Eve. (Some traditions suggest you burn them in your New Year’s bonfire – I think it will be waaaaay too cold for that this year!)Ring bells and make noise at midnight to chase away the bad spirits. Open a window or door to invite in the good spirits.

Eat a pomegranate. Count the seeds – that’s how much good luck you’ll have. Sprinkling salt in front of your door will bring peace. Sprinkling sugar will bring goodness.

Eat 12 Grapes – Yes, exactly 12, one at each stroke of midnight. That’s what they do in Spain — pop one grape for every month of the New Year. According to Atlas Obscura: “Eating one grape at each of midnight’s 12 clock chimes guarantees you a lucky year — if and only if you simultaneously ruminate on their significance.

Eat Noodles for a long life. Eat pork and peas and greens for prosperity. Eat fish for Abundance.

And have a great New Year!

Books about the Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice is Tuesday December 21st. Here’s a few books about the Solstice. (What are your favorites?)

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson (Author), Jan Davey Ellis (Illustrator)

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer (Author), Jesse Reisch (Illustrator)

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper (Author), Carson Ellis (Illustrator)

The Solstice Badger by Robin McFadden

On the Shortest Day by J C Artemisia (Author), Sarah A Chase (Illustrator)

Grandmother Winter by Phyllis Root and Beth Krommes

Yule Party/ Potluck & Gift Exchange

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2021 AT 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM

The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL

4848 Turner Street

Bring your own feast gear (we hate doing dishes at church) and a dish to pass (with a serving spoon, if needed). (Label your ingredients, please.) Gift exchange! (Bring a wrapped Pagan-ish gift to trade. One for each person over the age of 13. $10 maximum, please. Let us know if you are bringing children and how many – we’ll provide a gift for each of them!) We will meet in Deale Hall. Masks are still required.

(If you are bringing kids, email the hosts at whiteoakgrovecuups@gmail.com so we make sure we have a gift for them.)

Check out up to date details and RSVP at whiteoakgrovecuups.com or on our Facebook event page at https://fb.me/e/dz7AU1Av1

Check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/whiteoakgrovecuups/

Be Thankful!

Thanksgiving is next week – and it’s one of my favorite holidays! Food, fellowship, and PIE – what could be wrong with that? Like many of us, I grew up in a non-pagan household – but my mother certainly had pagan leanings! We donated food to those who were less fortunate. Once or twice we worked at the local shelter on Thanksgiving instead of eating our own feast. We welcomed people to our table who were without family of their own with whom to celebrate. We ate (along with the traditional foods) the three sisters – corn, beans, and squash. And, perhaps most important of all, we gave thanks for what we had. Each year’s meal started off with a discussion of what each of us was most thankful for. (And no cheating and saying that you were thankful for pie!)How do you celebrate? Are there any rituals you follow on this holiday? And what are you thankful for this year?

Witch Hats Pin Board

Carve a pumpkin for Samhain – Or a Turnip!

How to Easily Carve a Turnip Jack-o-Lantern - Lovely Greens

To distract wandering spirits from settling into their homes and farms, Celts once carved faces into turnips and set candles inside; this was a rudimentary form of today’s pumpkin carvings. Turnip lanterns lined roadways to light the way and also caution passing spirits.

Celts believed placing lit turnips outside would guide family spirits home; simultaneously, scary carvings repelled evil spirits.

There is also evidence that turnips were used to carve what was called a “Hoberdy’s Lantern” in Worcestershire, England, at the end of the 18th century. The folklorist Jabez Allies outlines other derivations of the name, “Hobany’s”, which is most likely derived from “Hob and his”, with other variations including “Hob-o’-Lantern”, “Hobbedy’s Lantern” and “Hobbady-lantern”.

A jack-o’-lantern (or jack o’lantern) is a carved pumpkin, turnip, or other root vegetable lantern, commonly associated with the Halloween holiday. Its name comes from the reported phenomenon of strange lights flickering over peat bogs, called will-o’-the-wisps or jack-o’-lanterns. The name is also tied to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a drunkard who bargains with Satan and is doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way.

Jack-o’-lanterns carved from pumpkins are a yearly Halloween tradition that came to the United States with Irish immigrants.

In a jack-o’-lantern, the top of the pumpkin or turnip is cut off to form a lid, the inside flesh is scooped out, and an image—usually a scary or funny face—is carved out of the rind to expose the hollow interior. To create the lantern effect, a light source, traditionally a flame such as a candle or tealight, is placed within before the lid is closed. However, artificial jack-o’-lanterns with electric lights are also marketed. It is common to see jack-o’-lanterns used as external and internal decorations prior to and on Halloween.

https://www.rareirishstuff.com/blog/an-original-jack-olantern-c1850.6078.html

Raise your voice!

Are you interested in helping to shape the policies and events of White Oak Grove CUUPs? The best way to do this is to become a voting member! And we have a special deal for you – no dues through Samhain 2022! Becoming a voting member is easy – just fill out the form and either mail it to the Church address on the form or scan it in and email it to whiteoakgrovecuups at gmail.com.

White Oak Grove CUUPS Membership Application

I would like to become/remain an active member of White Oak Grove CUUPS, Inc. I understand that as an active member of CUUPS, Inc., I will be able to vote on matters of policy in our group and run for Board positions. Through October 31, 2022, all local chapter dues are waived.

This is:

  • A New Membership                               
  • A Membership Renewal

Membership Type

Please select one:

GENERAL MEMBER / Youth Under Age 16 – anyone who expresses an interest in gathering with and or communicating with the members of the White Oak Grove CUUPS chapter.

VOTING MEMBER – for White Oak Grove CUUPS and are members of CUUPS National and/or a member of a UU congregation.

VOTING YOUTH MEMBER – Youth ages of 16-18, If they should wish to have to have a vote, must maintain membership in White Oak Grove and have a parent/ guardian who is also a voting member.

In place of dues for 2021/2022, donations will be happily accepted.

Total: $ ___________________

Confidentiality Information: At no time does CUUPS, Inc. sell or promote the use of the Members List for commercial purposes. This list is used for membership purposes only and CUUPS, Inc. business only. To ensure this, we are offering three levels of confidentiality.

Please select one:

  • Level 1

Your name, address, e-mail address and telephone will only be available to the current voting members of the White Oak Grove CUUPs, UU Rockford Board of Trustees and their Agents.

  • Level 2

Your name, address, e-mail address and telephone will be available on request to other CUUPS members for networking and other CUUPS related business.

  • Level 3

Your name, address, email address and telephone are available to anyone inquiring about UU Paganism and local contacts.

Contact Information:

Name:

______________________________________________________________________

Address

______________________________________________________________________

City ________________________ State/ Province _______________

ZIP Code ______________

Email Address __________________________________________

Telephone    ( _________ ) ________________________

UU Congregation you attend: __________________________________________

as _______Member _______Friend

CUUPS National Membership Number ___________________________

Donation/ Payment Options (U.S. funds only, please.) (You may email inquiries about this form to whiteoakgrovecuups@gmail.com) Make your check out to The Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, and reference White Oak Grove CUUPs in the memo line. PayPal options are also available through the UU Rockford website.

Complete and print this form and mail to:

White Oak Grove CUUPs, c/o Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford,

4848 Turner Street Rockford, IL 61107

whiteoakgrovecuups@gmail.com

https://whiteoakgrovecuups.com/

www.facebook.com/groups/whiteoakgrovecuups

For White Oak Grove CUUPs use only –

Application received _________________________

Renewal notice sent _________________________

Renewal date ______________________________

Revised September 2021

Apples and Samhain

Fall is a wonderful time! The trees are changing color – and apples abound! But did you know that apples are also a symbol of Samhain? They have been used for centuries in divination.

There are many apple games played at Samhain which grew out of the belief in the Apple as a sacred and magical fruit. The Apple is a symbol of life and immortality. In Celtic tradition, apples were buried at Samhain as food for those souls who are waiting to be reborn. The Apple, cut crosswise, reveals the five pointed star, or pentacle at its core, a symbol of the Goddess.

Cut an apple crossways, creating top and bottom halves. Your cut should reveal the rough shape of a pentagram laid out by the seeds.
Count the total number of visible seeds on the surfaces of the halves. This is the number you have divined. Use your favorite system of number magick/numerology to analyze the meaning of your divination. For example, the number two often represents partnerships, five is often understood to mean balance and protection, nine can be seen as abundance, and ten may mean completion and closure.
When finished, you may offer the apple to your deity of choice or consume it as you feel appropriate.

Apples have always been popular tools for foretelling the future. There are a number of traditional methods in folklore for seeing who one’s lover might be.

  • Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece. When the peel comes off, drop it on the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love’s name.
  • Wait until midnight and cut an apple into nine pieces. Take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror (either hanging on the wall or a hand-held one will do). At midnight, begin eating the pieces of apple while looking into the mirror. When you get to the ninth piece, throw it over your shoulder. The face of your lover should appear in the mirror.
  • If a girl has more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds. Place a wet seed on your cheek for each boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is the true love.
  • (Wigington, Patti. “The Magical Energy of Apples.” Learn Religions, Feb. 8, 2021, learnreligions.com/the-magical-energy-of-apples-2562299.)

Family Friendly Samhain Party!!!

October 23 from 12:30 to 3pm

Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner Street

All the things we love about the Samhain parties in the past – now with more masking! Potluck, raffle, games! Wear a costume – or not! For all ages! Masks are required for all attendees.

Family Friendly Samhain Ritual

An afternoon with our Beloved Dead…

Sunday October 3, 2021 from 12:30 to 3pm

Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner Street

We will, in a brief, family centered ritual, celebrate those we have loved and lost. Bring mementos or photos of your beloved dead for the altar. Please note – Masks are required for all attendees!

Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources

The 7 Principles

(Adopted in 1960, the Principles, Purposes and Sources are incorporated in the Bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association)

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person

Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large

The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

Six Sources

Unitarian Universalists emphasize the responsibility of the individual as well as the community for achieving spiritual growth and development. The complete statement of the Unitarian Universalist covenant describes the Six Sources upon which current practice is based:[49]

Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;

Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;

Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;

Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.

Hermes The Multi-faceted

Born in a cave of Mount Cyllene, Arcadia to Zeus and Maia, the daughter of Atlas, Hermes is an old God whose existence is recorded as early as Linear B tablets of the Mycenaean civilization from the 15th to 13th century BCE.  The second youngest of the 12 Olympians. So cunning was the child that just shortly after his birth, he escaped from his cradle, went to Pieiria, and stole the oxen of Apollo. 

The multi-faceted Hermes is known as the Olympian god of herds and flocks, travelers and hospitality, roads and trade, thievery and cunning, heralds and diplomacy, language and writing, athletic contests and gymnasiums, astronomy and astrology. He was the herald and personal messenger of Zeus, King of the Gods, and also the guide of the dead who led souls down into the underworld.

Aesop featured him in several of his fables, as ruler of the gate of prophetic dreams, as the god of athletes, of edible roots, and of hospitality. He also said that Hermes had assigned each person his share of intelligence.

PERSONALITY

Hermes’ character is believed to be disarmingly charming, and friendly towards all. In working with this God your unique personal gnosis may show him in many different ages throughout his life.  While one person may view him as the energetic and mischievous child, another may experience him in later years as a wisened traveler.  Hermes can be a trickster, with a penchant for fraud, perjury, and the inclination to steal.  It has often been said that he is friend to everyone, which can make him difficult to work with in unexpected ways.  The idea of his being the herald and messenger of the gods, of his travelling from place to place and concluding treaties, necessarily implied the notion that he was the promoter of social intercourse and of commerce among men.

ASSOCIATIONS

  • Herma – Piles of stones to mark roadsides.
  • Hare
  • Cattle Herds
  • Dove Killer Hawk
  • Tortise
  • The Number Four
  • Crocus
  • Strawberry Tree
  • Palm Trees
  • Golden Short Sword
  • Shepard’s Pipe – Invented by Hermes and traded to Apollon
  • Ram – As the God seen most to care for and increase flocks
  • Winged Boots – Gave him swift flight through the air.
  • Winged Hats & Travelers Hat – His wide-brimmed felt cap was the hat of Aidoneus was said to render its wearer invisible.
  • Heralds Rod – which could lull mortals to sleep, or cause them to wake.
  • Hermes is said to have invented the alphabet, numbers, astronomy, music, the art of fighting, gymnastics, the cultivation of the olive tree, measures, weights, and many other things.
  • Sacrifices offered to him consisted of incense, honey, cakes, pigs, and especially lambs and young goats.

DAY OF HERMES

Hermes is associated with the number four as he was born on the fourth day of the month.  The fourth day of the week (Wednesday) was named after him.  The Greeks called it Hermes’ day, in Latin Mercurius’ day, and in Germanic it was Woden’s day–the Norse god Woden-Odin being identified with Hermes-Mercurius. 

Ancient Hymns To Hermes


“To Hermes, Fumigation from Frankincense.

Hermes, draw near, and to my prayer incline,

messenger of Zeus, and Maia’s son divine;

prefect of contests, ruler of mankind,

with heart almighty, and a prudent mind.

Celestial messenger of various skill,

whose powerful arts could watchful Argos kill.

With winged feet ’tis thine through air to course,

O friend of man, and prophet of discourse;

great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine.

With power endued all language to explain,

of care the loosener, and the source of gain.

Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,

Korykion (Corycion), blessed, profitable God.

 Of various speech, whose aid in works we find,

and in necessities to mortal kind.

Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,

be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear;

assist my works, conclude my life with peace,

give graceful speech, and memory’s increase.”

Orphic Hymn 28 to Hermes (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :

Altar Inspiration Pin Board

The leaves are budding across the land

on the ash and oak and hawthorn trees.

Magic rises around us in the forest

and the hedges are filled with laughter and love.

Dear lady, we offer you a gift,

a gathering of flowers picked by our hands,

woven into the circle of endless life.

The bright colors of nature herself

blend together to honor you,

Queen of spring,

as we give you honor this day.

Spring is here and the land is fertile,

ready to offer up gifts in your name.

we pay you tribute, our lady,

daughter of the Fae,

and ask your blessing this Beltane.

Prayer to Honor the May Queen. ( Source )

Spring has come to the earth.

the land is fertile and ready at Beltane,

seeds will be sown, and

new life will begin once more.

Hail, great gods of the land!

Hail, gods of resurrected life!

Hail, Cernunnos, Osiris, Herne, and Bacchus!

Let the soil open up

and mother earth’s fertile womb

receive the seeds of life

as we welcome the spring.

Prayer to the Gods of the Forest. ( Source )

Beltane Pin Board

Myths & Legends Pin Board

April Crystal of the Month – Hematite

Hematite is a master of grounding via the root chakra, Hematite can help ground the mind and bring focus back to the body when you are feeling scattered. A sponge for your negative thoughts, it always helps you to find the silver lining in things.

Associated with the Greek God Aries, it’s name means “blood-like.” When in a ground powdered form, Hematite is also known as red ochre. Greek warriors would paint their bodies with it before battle, and it was used in the world’s first cave paintings.

Beware of fakes!! Real Hematite is NOT magnetic.

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