Carolina Spirit Quest - Winter Quest 2008 Learning Circles


Learning Circles are presented in various locations, including the Main Lodge and the common rooms of cabins. Cabins are NOT within walking distance of the main lodge. We will arrange rides to cabins for Learning Circles as necessary.

This page is continually being updated with more Learning Circles. Please come back often.

Learning Circle Schedule

Guess Who's Coming for Dinner? Grounded Approach to the Runes - Meanings Five Rhythms of the Soul Free time
Saturday Morning Divination Grounded Approach to the Runes - Usage Photography as Meditation Free time
Saturday Afternoon Polarity Therapy Creating Your Own Divination Tool - Runes Shamanic Journey Through Rhythm Free time
Chakras Hand-dyed Altar Cloths Hiking Free time

Learning Circles

Chakras: An Introduction to Spiritual Anatomy - Sharon Hill

The chakras, or wheels of light, as the term means in Sanskrit, are like organs of the spirit. They receive, process, and discharge energy for the various functions that we as humans engage in. In this experiential class, we will review the structure and functions of the 7 major chakras and some of their correspondences for magickal use. We will also engage in an activity to put into practice this powerful tool for personal transformation and discuss ways that this knowledge can support us in our spiritual practice. (If you've never taken a course with Sharon, there're always much more interesting than they sound in the dry descriptions she writes.)


Creating Your Own Divination Tool - Runes - Becky Starr

Symbols are everywhere - around us in our daily lives and on our different paths. But symbols, unlike words, speak to a deeper part of the brain - the intuitive part. Sometimes, the symbols that others have chosen for divination, such as Norse Runes, just don't resonate within us. In this Learning Circle we will explore many different symbols and how we can create a personal divination tool using symbols of our own path and choosing. Bring your creativity, and a sense of adventure, for we will each be creating a unique guide to our inner wisdom!

Divination - Sharon Hill

Come learn to be a seer. If you have a preferred tool, bring it with you. In this class, we will learn to hear and identify messages from our Spirit selves. We are all multi-dimensional beings. In this class we will access information from multiple realms. This will be a two hour workshop with the first half devoted to theory and the second to experiencing listening, questioning, and verbalizing messages received. If size of class and time permits, we will access information for personal use and for communication to others. Please bring something to record your messages.

Five Rhythms of the Soul - R. Tigre Cruz

Based on Gabrielle Roth's movement work and acclaimed novel, we will learn and drum 5 fundamental rhythms such as Flowing, and Staccato, which evoke their corresponding movements and emotions. This foundation in rhythm is where I created my concepts of drumming in the elements/directions in Wiccan ritual. We will explore and discuss the many correspondences as we learn and feel each rhythm of the soul.

Grounded Approach to the Runes: Meanings - Cynthia Campbell

In this learning circle we will talk about the history and meanings of the runes based on the Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Icelandic rune poems. If you have studied the runes before, but haven't read the rune poems, you may find a few surprises! This circle is for beginners and advanced rune practitioners alike.

Grounded Approach to the Runes: Usage - Cynthia Campbell

In this learning circle we will talk about how the runes were used historically and how they are used today. This will include magical usage, bind-runes, inscriptions, and divination. If you would like to use your own rune set for divination purposes, you are welcome to bring them. Attendance in the Friday evening rune class is recommended, but not required.

Guess Who's Coming for Dinner? ... A Vegetarian! - Fire Lily

In the "Guess Who's Coming for Dinner? ... A Vegetarian!" learning circle, we will talk a little about the varied reasons that people choose a vegetarian lifestyle, and simple and easy ingredient substitutions. We will be preparing some simple, yet tasty, dishes that we vegetarians attending Winter Quest will get to enjoy and that the non-vegetarians can use to make their "special dinner guests" feel more than welcome at any meal or gathering where good food is shared. Everyone will leave with several recipes that they can share with their family and vegetarian friends.

Hand-dyed Altar Cloths - Abby Spears

Decorate your altar with colors and symbols that are magical to you! In this workshop, we'll use two dyeing techniques: one for creating specific designs and one for making beautifully chaotic color patters. You'll take home a basic knowledge of how to work with dyes, a 22" square cotton cloth that you've batiked with your design, and a 30" square silk cloth dyed in colors of your choosing. Materials fee: $7


Hiking in the Winter Landscape - Tim Woody

Fairy Stone has many trails to hike. One of the ways to discover the divinity within and surrounding each of us is to take a leisurely hike through the winter landscape. It can be a veritable walking meditation in silence. Join us and enjoy the Zen of the winter world.

Photography as Meditation - Stephnie Taylor

You might be asking yourself "What does photography have to do with meditation?" In this learning circle we will explore the ways in which we can use photography as a meditative technique and photographs as a source of inspiration for meditation. We will start with the aspects of taking a picture and then use a picture as the basis for meditation, exploring what it has to tell us. Lastly, we will look at how scrap booking can work as a meditative process. Please bring some pictures with you that you would like to meditate on and/or make into a scrapbook page.

Polarity Therapy: Connecting with Energy - Dick Merritt

Polarity Therapy is one of a multitude of hands-on healing modalities which works with the flow of the body's energies. It is, perhaps, the easiest to learn to use effectively. Through demonstrations and practice, participants will learn to use the fundamentals of polarity on one another. Polarity is practiced with cloths on. You can connect your energetic body to that of your subject through ordinary street clothing. Working with energy can be a part of many diverse spiritual paths. Besides, it is both helpful and fun.

Shamanic Journey Through Rhythm - R. Tigre Cruz

This learning circle will actually be a Shamanic Journey. Shamans use drumming and grounding to enter and maintain a deep trance state in order to travel through the veil to the spirit world or underworld, to gain knowledge, for healing, to seek power /spirit animals or acquire guidance from the great spirit and/or nature itself as well as other intentions.

We will journey to the other side into the astral realm together as one circle of Shamans. Once through the veil, we will all be individually experiencing the spirit world until we come back together through the shamanic guidance and return meditation. I would encourage you to be prepared to share your experience on the other side when we return for the benefit and education of all who attend this working.

If you have not worked with trance magic or meditation before, I recommend the Shamanic Trance in Ritual learning circle that will be offered before this learning circle, for some primary information about trance as ritual magic. It is highly recommended that you bring a drum, or your favorite personal drum, to this working. A very limited few drums will be available to borrow for the trance.

Shamanic magic is one of the oldest practices of meditation and trance originating in ancient Siberia. I hope you can join us and look into this branch of magical traditions.


Abby Spears is happiest when she's up to her elbows in textiles. She's been sewing for 7 years and working with fiber reactive dyes for 6 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.

Becky Starr

Becky Starr is an instructor by passion and training. Currently, she is in the process of starting a business with her husband Ben, Starrlight Mead, scheduled to open in Fall 2008. 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 fourth 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.

Cynthia Campbell is a pagan mom living in central NC with her Heathen husband Dan, two young daughters, and one cat. She has been studying the runes now for over six years. In recent years she has studied with the "Beginner Runes" group in central NC, which delves into the rune poems and other related lore to seek the original meanings behind the verses. This historical perspective has enriched her understanding of the runes and she hopes she can share that during the rune circles at Winter Quest.

Dick Merritt

Dick Merrit, a retired professional member of the American Massage Therapy Association, led massage workshops for many years. Dick grew into paganism through the influence of eco-feminist spirituality in the 80's. It was a natural fit, given his agrarian background. He is an eclectic neo-pagan and Unitarian Universalist. Dick characterizes himself as a Joseph Campbell pagan because of his conviction that religion is metaphor. Strongly influenced by the Creation Spirituality movement, he describes himself as a panentheist. He enjoys frequent rituals and purification ceremonies. A techno-pagan, he is a retired UNIX technician.

Fire Lily

Fire Lily is a veteran "Winter Quester" and the Religious Education Director of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Shenandoah Valley in Stephens City, VA. She also works part time as a Consulting Associate and head Kitchen Witch for Harvest Moon Natural Foods in Winchester, VA. Fire Lily has served as High Priestess for DarkMoon Women's Circle, EarthWays CUUPS and as Treasurer for the Northern Shenandoah Valley Pagan Alliance (NSVPA) for many, many years. For health reasons she became a vegetarian 7 years ago and thus began a journey into a completely new and foreign food territory, a journey that required much trial and error and a great deal of perseverance and exploration to find the best combinations of ingredients that would help her make tasty and nutritious meals that would satisfy a healthy lifestyle and her own varied tastes as well as those of her hungry husband.

Sharon Hill is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, healer, counselor, and teacher. She resides in Durham and both studies and practices magick, shamanism, rune magick, chakras, and other spiritual disciplines.

Stephanie Taylor has been an amateur photographer for 7 years and finds photography a way of connecting with the divine through the beauty of the ordinary. She began practicing Paganism in 1999, when introduced to it by a college friend, and is currently an active member of Celebrate the Circle, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Hillsborough (UUCH) chapter of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS), and Carolina Spirit Quest. Stephanie is currently serving on the CSQ Board of Trustees and is a Co-Director for Spring Quest 2008.

R. Tigre Cruz

Tigre is a Rhythm Shaman, Drum Mage, drum instructor and a drum circle facilitator. In his thirty two years of drumming, studying, training, and/or instructing classical and modern percussion, he has acquired a wealth of experience from band, orchestra, marching band and competitive drum corps. He studies drumming and drum circle facilitation with Jaqui MacMillan. He has performed with and learned from Daveed Korup, Aesa Grayson, and Jim Donovan of "Rusted Root" and is the lead drummer for the recording artist/band KIVA. Tigre facilitates groups to shape intentions and drum circles for a variety of reasons: ritual, meditation, inspiration, trance, healing and enjoyment. Tigre has co-created formal and informal ceremonies, and taught classes for various organizations such as The Pagan Leadership Skills Conference, The Mid-Atlantic Men's Gathering, Carolina Spirit Quest, and the Sacred Space Conference. He resides in Washington DC.

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Last updated 12/28/07