CSQ - Spring 2008 Learning Circles


Learning Circles

Welcome to Carolina Spirit Quest, where you will see familiar faces, make new friends, and have an opportunity to learn some amazing things. We have a diverse offering of Learning Circles (workshops) from Bellydancing and Mead-making to Tarot and Crystals. Our Learning Circle presenters are experienced and enthusiastic. We are excited about these Learning Circles because we think there is something for everyone!

Please register early as participation in some Learning Circles is limited. A brief schedule of the Learning Circles is provided below, with links to where they are described in more detail.

Learning Circle Schedule

Friday Afternoon 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Meeting the Elements Through Meditation
Gifts from the Earth
Energy Movement in Ritual - Beginning
The Landscape of Magickal Practice
Friday Afternoon 4:30-5:30 PM
Newcomers Circle
Saturday Morning 9:00 - 11:00 AM
Harmonic Journeys
Rituals for Large Groups
Art and Magick of the Hex Sign
The Fool's Journey
Saturday Afternoon 3:00-5:00 PM
The Light and the Dark, Myth and Reality
The Inertia in Sygils and Language
Coming Out of the Broomcloset
Shamanism: Honoring All Our Yesterdays, Todays, and Tomorrows
Bath Salts and Essential Oils
Sunday Morning 9:00-11:00 AM
Growing Your Own Power Source
Dancing Swirls of Color
Fun with Honey and Yeast
Symbols of the Druids

Please Note: Learning circles are subject to change. Please check with the web site, or the Learning Circle Coordinator, for any changes or additions.

A Special Welcome To Newcomers

We are so glad you are with us at Quest. We invite you to attend the Newcomers Workshop 'So This is Your First Quest?' on Friday night from 4:30 - 5:30. Attendance is not mandatory, but you will learn many helpful tips. Also, take a moment to look over the "What To Bring" list. If you think you will be lost without a certain item for the weekend, go ahead and pack it. Make sure you bring lots of ritual items, like clothing, staffs, jewelry, etc. During the Opening, Main and Closing Rituals, it is common to see participants dressed in their finest ritual garb. Robes, dresses, tunics, gowns, cloaks and capes decorated with symbols meaningful to the participants' traditions or body painting in colorful designs are worn by many. Plus, there is always lots of glitter!

Remember, you are here to have fun. If you have questions at any time throughout the weekend, please feel free to ask a Staff or Board member. We are here to help you have an enjoyable weekend. Be ready to meet many different people from many different paths. Bring an open mind and heart, and be ready to learn, teach, share, listen and make new friends. Welcome to Quest!

Newcomer's Circle - So This Is Your First Quest?

Facilitators: Steph and Kara
Time slot: Friday Afternoon 4:30-5:30

Back for its seventh year by popular demand, Quest is presenting a Learning Circle for new folks. This fun, fact-filled mini Learning Circle is offered to anyone attending their first Quest. Please come even if you are a veteran of other gatherings. Steph and Kara have attended several Quests and promise you some fun and a few surprises. Anyone who has attended Quest may come and offer their favorite tip.

Learning Circle Descriptions

Art and the Magick of the Hex Sign

Facilitator: Kara Mueller

Whether "just for nice" or magickal symbols the Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs are beautiful. This workshop celebrates the German, Scandinavian, Polish, Swiss and old Austrian Empire peoples that settled southeastern Pennsylvania in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, bringing their beautiful geometric designs. Both tradition and modern designs will be explored in this workshop and participants will receive materials to create their own hex sign.
There is a $10 fee for this Learning Circle for the materials and take-homes.

Bath Salts and Essentail Oils

Facilitator: Amanda

The first part of the class will pertain to choosing the right salts, oils, and plant compounds to create custom blends that meet your individual needs. The second part of the class will deal with the basics of essential oils and their many uses in caring for mind, body and spirit. Students will be provided with handouts pertaining to the subject matter, as well as with small amounts of essential oils, carrier oils, 2 glass jars, mixing tools, and 6-10 oz (by weight) of various salt blends in order to create their own bath salts for personal use.

Requirements: You need to bring is a stainless steel bowl large enough to hold about 12 oz. of salt and your fabulous self. (If you cannot bring a bowl, Amanda can make arrangements to provide one for you. Please email her at dancingpandasoapworks@gmail.com by no later than April 9th.)
Cost: $12



Facilitator: Greg Marzullo

Connect with the heart of your sensual self and embrace it through the sacred rhythms of belly dancing. Feel the spark of Kundalini energy ignite and snake its way through your body, awakening its power as a divine magickal tool. In this class, we'll play with some of the basic belly dancing techniques, gaining a working familiarity with common moves; we'll also explore how to apply these dances to a magickal intention crafted by the group. A devotional act and a powerful co-creative spell of transformation, sacred dance is our birthright and one of our gifts to the Multiverse.

Coming Out of the Broomcloset

Facilitator: Michelle Basnett

A guide to coming out to family and friends about your religion - including different ways to broach the topic, and knowing when is the right time to bring it up. Also, will go over being Pagan in the workforce, and knowing your rights as protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Dancing Swirls of Color: Hand Dyeing Magical Items

Facilitator: Abby Spears

Come and learn to make beautiful hand-dyed altar cloths and ritual wear. In this workshop, you'll start with a plain white length of soft, drapey rayon fabric. You'll learn how to use fiber-reactive dyes, mix colors to your liking, and dye your fabric with intricate patterns of brilliant, permanent color. Will yours be an altar cloth, a scarf, a sash, part of a robe? It's up to you!

Each participant will be supplied with a length of rayon approximately 18" x 55." You may also bring your own small white or light-colored cotton, rayon, or linen items to dye, but please be reasonable with the quantity-no bedsheets!
There will be a $6 materials fee for this workshop.

Energy Movement in Ritual - Beginning

Facilitator: Becky Starr

In this learning circle, we will explore basic methods for moving energy within the context of a ritual setting. Our two major areas of focus will be circle casting, and raising and releasing a cone of power. We will use visualization and lots of practical exercises to feel the movement of energy around and out of the circle. This learning circle is designed as a introduction to energy movement - beginners welcome!

The Fool's Journey: Exploring the Major Arcana of the Tarot

Facilitator: Lance Brown

The Fool's Journey is a metaphor for our journey through life. Each card of the Major Arcana represents experiences in that journey we must incorporate into our lives to fully realize ourselves. We will walk with the Fool as he steps off the cliff at the beginning of his quest and ultimately attains mastery of himself and the Universe before returning to the cliff and stepping off to begin the cycle again. If you have a deck (or several!) please bring them with you. We will be sharing from a wide variety of decks, and the more the merrier.

Fun with Honey and Yeast


Facilitator: Ben Starr

This Learning Circle will explore the art and science of making mead. We will look at basic techniques, recipes, equipment and ingredients for various meads. Attendees will go home with one-gallon of fermenting mead, an airlock and tubing to finish off their own luscious concoction.
There is a $10 fee for this Learning Circle for the materials and take-homes.
Class is limited to 10 participants.

Merry mead, merry part, and merry mead again!!!

Gifts from the Earth: An Introduction to Crystals and Gemstones

Facilitator: Nikki

Have you been walking and felt the need to pick up a pretty rock? Are you drawn to certain pieces of jewelry with stones and don't know why? Did you buy a stone and have no idea what to do with it? All of these questions will be answered in this brief introduction to crystals and gemstones. In this workshop you will learn how gemstones come to formation, how to identify them, what their properties are, and how to get started using them in your own practice.


Growing Your Own Power Source

Facilitator: JD Hortwort

As with anything in life, the more you put into it the more you get out of it. Learn to grow your own magickal or ritual herbs with this basic course. Don't have a green thumb? Not a problem. Just look at your world with new eyes and you'll see plenty of plants growing all around you that will aid your practice. We'll show you how.

Harmonic Journeys: A Path to Wholeness and Mystic Awareness

Facilitator: Cynthia Turrentine

The Harmony model is a method of understanding the cause and effect in all aspect of your life, both seen and unseen. It is a powerful tool for healing and to aid you in manifesting the life you wish for. The workshop will include an introduction to the Harmony model and a shamanic journey to meet your spirit guide. Please bring a notebook and a drum if you have one.

Ing bindrune

The Inertia in Sygils and Language

Facilitator: Johnson Davis

Do ancient languages carry ancient intent, the will of millions driven into the words by centuries of use, or do they just sound cool? Can we mold modern language with our own intent against a tide of billions actively using it now? Do ancient symbols carry ancient desire within them? Can we create new symbols charged with even a fraction of that desire? We will delve into these questions and more during this workshop, discussing and experimenting with both language and sygils to effectively express our personal will. Pencils, paper and reference materials will be provided, but bring special paper and writing instruments if you like.

The Landscape of Magickal Practice

Facilitator: Aramoraka

This is a workshop that focuses on the influence of physical surroundings and metaphors of scenery in magickal work. This workshop is designed to incorporate traditional understandings of landscape into a contemporary practice through meditation, discussion, and a brief look at the ways in which both our ancestors and indigenous peoples regard(ed) their physical surroundings.

The Light and the Dark, Myth and Reality

Facilitator: Ric Moser

Light and Dark, White and Black Magic, Good and Evil, these are important ideas we frequently face. Either in questions of our own practice by us and or people in the Pagan Community, or by those either not familiar with or even strongly opposed to Paganism. In this workshop we will explore each of these concepts and put them into proper perspective. We will also take a look at a couple of Dark Deities from the Celtic Pantheon and find out why they are considered to be Dark, and if they are to be feared or just respected.

Meeting the Elements Through Meditation


Facilitator: Helene

This workshop will cover the basics of mediation, and then participants will be led on 4 very different and unique mediation journeys where they will meet each element (air, fire, water and earth) individually. Very much in keeping with this year's Quest theme, this workshop really enforces the idea that it's the journey that is important. Handouts will be provided.

Rituals for Large Groups

Facilitator: Dick Merritt

The workshop will help you to plan and conduct rituals for large groups - 50, 80, 100, 300 participants. Learn how to translate rituals for small groups into ones for large groups while avoiding commonly made mistakes. Consider space, visibility, audibility, time limitations, and complexity. How can you make a large spiral dance come out right? How can you successfully integrate experiences and first time participants in large rituals without dropping the energy?

Shamanism: Honoring All Our Yesterdays, Todays, and Tomorrows

Facilitator: Sharon Hill

Come join us for an experiential workshop of magickal techniques involving the exploration of the vast multiverse of our consciousness. One definition of magick is the ability to alter one's reality by the power of will. Consciousness is an aspect of one's reality and the ability to control consciousness is the basic to magickal practice and power. In this workshop we will engage in individual and group exercises of altering consciousness, including relaxation, guided and unguided journeying, and discussion of the application of trance work to magickal practice. We will tailor our activities to the constraints of location, time, interest, and the experience level of the participants. I look forward to our shared experiencing. Namaste

Symbols of the Druids

Facilitator: Sarah McDavid

Druidism probably did not have one universal symbol to represent itself, since it was differentiated between seven different Celtic nations, and divided further into many tribes within these nations. Druid and Celtic society had many symbols, many hold mystical meanings or powers.

Learning Circle Presenter & Spring Quest Staff Biographies

Abby Spears is happiest when she's up to her elbows in textiles. She's been sewing for 8 years and working with fiber reactive dyes for 7 years. She was set on the path of dyeing by the women of Diana's Grove, but her primary teachers have been books and experimentation.

Amanda has been making soap, candles, and bath salts for the last five years. In previous years she has worked for a national chain of bath and body stores. She was drawn toward a different path after getting fed up with pressuring little old ladies on Social Security incomes to buy things they really didn't want or need. Out of the desire to affect even a small change on the world, Dancing Panda Soapworks was born. Today, Amanda lives in "the middle of nowhere" with her husband John and their four "fur-kids", Shaina, Max, Luna, and Oddball.

Aramoraka is a self-identified Witch of fourteen years. His work with landscapes began two years ago when he relocated to the mountains of Western North Carolina to pursue a degree in Contemporary Pagan Studies. Currently residing in Boone and when not studying enjoys reading, hiking, and has recently taken up knitting.

Becky Starr s an instructor by passion and training. Currently, she is in the process of starting a business, Starrlight Mead, with her husband Ben. In the Pagan world, she finds herself a frequent workshop leader for Celebrate the Circle, the CUUPS chapter of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Hillsborough and at events for Carolina Spirit Quest, including both Spring Quest and Winter Quest. Becky is in her forth year on the CSQ Board of Trustees and is Vice President of the board. Becky considers herself an eclectic Egyptian Pagan, is a Priestess of Isis and lives in Durham, NC with her husband, teenage son, and cat, Missy.

Ben Starr has made more than 150 gallons of mead. Ben and Becky will be opening a commercial meadery in the fall of '08. Ben has won several awards for his mead, including Best in Show at the International Mead Festival. Ben has taught mead making for the past 3 years at Spring Quest.

Cynthia Turrentine Hanson, also known as Elf, has been on the path less traveled all her life. Her studies have centered around how to achieve harmony in life and how to expand and benefit from the mystic (otherworld) awareness she was born with. Most of her studies focused on shamanic journeys to gain the knowledge she needed. The harmony model is the results of that work. In the last five years or so a few people have asked her to aid them on their own quest, and she has been honored to do so. She now works full time as a teacher and healer.

Dick Merritt grew into paganism through the influence of eco-feminist spirituality in the 80's. He has been a member of CUUPS (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) since its inception and is one of the founding members of Celebrate the Circle. He characterizes himself as a Joseph Campbell pagan because of his conviction that religion is metaphor. A techno-pagan, he enjoys frequent rituals and purification ceremonies. He has been leading rituals for groups of up to 300 participants and studying those led by others since the late 80's. He is a retired UNIX technician and massage therapist.

Greg Fletcher-Marzullo is a Reclaiming Witch, a Queer Priestess and a Faery Priestess, working to co-create a world firmly rooted in beauty, balance, delight and freedom. With a professional acting and movement background, Greg believes deeply in the ability of the body to work magic and change the world.

Helene has studied/practiced witchcraft and paganism for over 35 years, teaching her first class on Witchcraft at the age of 15 to 125 attendees. Currently she is a member of the Reformed Congregation of the Goddess, Full Moon WomensCircle in Raleigh, is a flamekeeper for Ord Bridhideach, and is the High Priestess of a local coven.

JD Hortwort s a practicing pagan in Randolph County. She is a life-long gardener and author of a weekly garden column since 1992. JD practices with the House of Akasha in Greensboro where she is a vice-chancellor. In the mundane world, she is a professional journalist and freelance writer.

Johnson Davis has been a practicing pagan for 21 years and a presenter/author for 10 years. Trained as a scientist, he approaches spiritual and metaphysical worlds with a maddening combination of acceptance and skepticism. So, he believes some crazy things, though he knows they are crazy. And why not? Most people believe in gravity, and it turns out to be pretty crazy when you try to explain why it actually works He also currently serve on the board for the Church of the Earth of NC and he is an organizer for the annual Central NC Pagan Pride Day Festival.

Kara Mueller lives in Northern Virgina, She has been part of the East Coast Pagan Community since 1993. Kara is ever the seeker in discovering new paths to the Divine and its expression. Kara is married with two sons.

Lance Brown is an eclectic modern techno Pagan and Unitarian Universalist. His path includes influences from Wicca, Celtic Paganism, and Native American traditions with a strong focus on his patroness, Brighid, and Bear, his totem and spirit guide. Lance is a member of Celebrate The Circle and the Ord Brigideach. He has studied the Tarot for twenty years and teaches Tarot classes at Celebrate The Circle on a regular basis.

Michelle Basnett has been actively studying Paganism for over ten years and involved with Church of the Earth for eight years. She worked on COTE's board for two terms, with Central NC Pagan Pride Day for the past three years, and will be the CNCPPD Local Coordinator for the next three years.

Nikki started following an eclectic pagan path in 1999. She has studied independently, and with open groups before joining a coven in 2006. She is an intuitive, a stone enthusiast, first degree reiki, and tarot novice. She holds a degree in Natural Resources, and works to educate the general public about the world around them.

Ric Moser is a native of Raleigh, a Traditional Witch, Coordinator of the Central NC Pagan Pride Day, a board member of the Church of the Earth, organizer of the Goddess Spiritualists, Pagans, and Witches Meetup Groups, and of the Goddess Morrigan Yahoo Group, and member of numerous local groups and covens past and present, father, son, brother.

Sarah McDavid is Chancellor and High Druidess (although I really will always be a Bard, Never cease learning.) (HPS), of House of Akasha. She has been dedicated to the Celtic Druidic path for nearly 19 years. She is a teacher of Wicca and Celtic Druidism. Sarah works with the Celtic pantheon for all her magickal purposes. She is an ordained minister and enjoys helping others to find their spiritual path.

Sharon Hill is a licensed clinical social worker and a certified employee assistance professional. She is also an experienced trance worker who practices shamanic techniques with a local group and individually. She also has experience in chakra work, meditation, Rune magick, Seidhr, group process, divination and healing work.

For more information about Carolina Spirit Quest, please contact info@carolinaspiritquest,org.
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Last updated 02/24/08