White Oak Grove CUUPS

Exploring Pagan Traditions in Rockford, IL



Family Friendly Beltane Ritual – May 7, 2023

Family friendly Beltane event. Please bring a live flower or two for each person in your group. Wear your brightest Beltane outfit! Flower crowns, May Day Bonnets, and fairy wings encouraged! Doors open at 12:30 for ritual prep and getting ready time. Ritual begins PROMPTLY at 1pm. Cookies and juice after the ritual.

Join us at Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner Street. In Deale Hall (to the left as you enter the building).

Watch for detail updates and rsvp to our Facebook group at

Ostara! Bunnies! Eggs! And chocolate!

April 2, 2023 at 12:30 pm. Held at Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner St.

Bunnies! Eggs! This is a family friendly event. We’ll discuss Ostara and have a make and take craft. Please rsvp so we have enough craft supplies! Bring something chocolate to share (finger food preferred; bring plates and forks to share if needed.) 

More info at

What is Imbolc?

Imbolc is February 1. It means that the long dark winter is ending and that spring is just around the corner. It’s one of the events on the Pagan Wheel of the Year and is celebrated by cleaning (both the house and spiritually) and meditation. You can celebrate by making a corn dolly or a Brigid’s Cross and by eating foods that honor the hearth and home, such as breads, grains, and vegetables stored from fall such as onions and potatoes, as well as dairy items.…

Imbolc or Imbolg (Irish pronunciation: [ɪˈmˠɔlˠɡ]), also called Saint Brigid’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Bríde; Scottish Gaelic: Là Fhèill Brìghde; Manx: Laa’l Breeshey), is a Gaelic traditional festival. It marks the beginning of spring, and for Christians (especially in Ireland) it is the feast day of Saint Brigid. It is held on 1 February, which is about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, its traditions were widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain.

Imbolc is mentioned in early Irish literature, and there is evidence suggesting it was also an important date in ancient times. It is believed that Imbolc was originally a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid, and that it was Christianized as the feast day of Saint Brigid, who could be a Christianization of the goddess. The festivities on the feast of Saint Brigid did not begin to be recorded in detail until the early modern era. In recent centuries this day was marked the making of Brigid’s crosses and a doll-like figure of Brigid (a Brídeóg) would be paraded from house-to-house by girls, sometimes accompanied by ‘strawboys’. Brigid was said to visit one’s home on the eve of the festival. To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, and items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless. Brigid was also evoked to protect homes and livestock. Special feasts were had, holy wells were visited, and it was a time for divination.

Imbolc February 5, 2023 at 12:30pm

We’ll celebrate the coming spring, make Brigid’s Crosses, and talk about Imbolc traditions.
It is believed that Imbolc was originally a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid.

This is a family friendly event – your children are welcome!

Meetings are held at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 4848 Turner Street, Rockford, IL.

Keep up to date on details and info by following our Facebook event page at

Foods to bring good luck and prosperity in the New Year!

Eat –

 Peas. Like Hoppin’ John (black eyed peas and rice) – US South

12 Grapes (one at each stroke of the clock at Midnight) – Spain and the Philippines


Seafood, especially herring – Poland, Sweden

Greens – U S South

Noodles – Japan

Pork and sauerkraut – Germany, Poland

Buttered Bread – Ireland


Pretzels – Germany

Dumplings – Poland, China, Japan, Russia

What’s your favorite food for good luck?

Join Us for Our Annual Yule Party!

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2022 AT 12:30 PM at Rockford UU Church, 4848 Turner St

Bring your own feast gear (we hate doing dishes at church), non-alcoholic beverages for your family, and a dish to pass (with a serving spoon, if needed). (Label your ingredients, please.) More details as they are finalized.
Gift exchange! (Bring a wrapped Pagan-ish gift to trade. One for each person over the age of 15. $15 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.

Check out updates at

Pagans in the Military

As we pause to celebrate Veteran’s Day, remember that there are many services available to and for Veterans and Active Duty Pagans in the military. Circle Sanctuary provides many of these services and more info can be found at

Wiccans and pagans in the United States military have, since the close of the 20th century, experienced a gradual increase in official recognition. The Wiccan pentacle is now an approved emblem for gravestones under the Veterans Administration, achieved in 2007 following legal action regarding the grave of Wiccan soldier Patrick Stewart. In 2011, the United States Air Force Academy dedicated an $80,000 “outdoor worship center” for “Earth-based religions” such as paganism and traditional Native American religions. As of 2022, there is still no provision for official recognition of Wiccan or pagan chaplains.

A broadly neutral depiction of Wicca for a military audience is found in the 1990 version of the Department of the Army’s Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains.

2022 Samhain Party

White Oak Grove CUUPs invites you and yours to our

Samhain Party!!!!! In Person!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2022 FROM 4:30 to 7:30pm

4848 Turner Street, Rockford

All the things we loved about the Samhain parties in the past! Wear a costume – or not! For all ages! A brief Samhain Ritual for the Ancestors will be held, followed by Potluck, sociaizing, games!. Please bring a potluck dish to share (a list of ingredients is never a bad idea!), your own feast gear (plates, bowls, flatwear, cups) and non-alcoholic beverages for all family members. We will open the doors around 4:30 to give people time to come and get set up. Ritual will begin at 5pm.

Mark your potluck dishes and serveware.

RSVP to or to our Facebook event page at

Family Friendly Beltane Ritual!

May 1st, 2022 at 12:30pm at UURockford, 4848 Turner Street, Rockford.

Please join us for a fun family friendly Beltane event. We will have a brief ritual that will honor the season and the fae around us. We ask that you bring something to offer the fae that is biodegradable, such as flowers, leaves, or seeds. We will then have a wish making activity for the coming Spring and Summer months. Hope to see you here! More info at

Please join us for our April Discussion – Wheel of the Year – Back to the Basics

Please join White Oak Grove CUUPs as we go back to the beginning and discuss the Wheel of the Year on April 3 at 12:30 in Deale Hall. We’ll talk about Pagan Seasons and Sabbats. Why do we celebrate what we celebrate? And why do we do it on those dates? RSVP on the Facebook event page at

Dress is Casual – masks are optional. (We do require that you wear shoes and other clothing, though.) We’ll make coffee if people want it. You might want to bring a notepad if you feel the need to take notes.

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 Wednesday 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 so we make sure we have a gift for them.)

Check out up to date details and RSVP at or on our Facebook event page at

Check out our Facebook page at

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.

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

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:





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 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

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,

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.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑