Learning Circles are presented in various locations, including the Main Lodge and the common rooms of cabins. Cabins are within walking distance of the main lodge.

Learning Circle Schedule

A Learning Circl
Saturday Morning 9:30 - 11:30 AM
Beginners Belly Dance and the Sacred Body
Walking in the footsteps of Grandfather
Cooking for Pagans
Nurturing the Self through Isa, Ceres and Manipura
Saturday Afternoon 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Cordially Yours - Making Cordials and Elixirs
Energy Work - A hands on workshop
The Narrative Tarot
Developing a Personal Relationship with Deity: Honor, Sacrifice, and Devotion
Sunday Morning 9:30 - 11:30 AM
From Wool to Yarn - Learn to Spin
Hiking in the Winter Landscape
Crafting a Book of Soul
Digging Deep

Learning Circles

From Wool to Yarn - Learn to Spin - Cynthia Campbell

In this hands-on workshop you will learn one of humankind's most ancient arts: how to hand spin your own thread. Spinning is very relaxing and easier than you may think! As this class is for beginners, no experience is necessary, though if you have spun in the past and need a refresher feel free to sign up! A drop spindle and sufficient wool to knit, crochet, or weave a small project will be provided. (If you already own a spindle and would like to learn, or re-learn, on it, bring it along!) There is a $5 fee for Learning Circle materials and take-homes

Beginners Belly Dance and the Sacred Body - Chrissy Forsythe

This class is to focus on the basic aspects and movements of belly dance. This form of dance, as any other, helps strengthen the body and helps embrace the beauty and strength within our sacred body. We will find meaning on how different movements and using different parts of our bodies connect us to our spiritual selves, also connecting us to the universe around us.

Cordially Yours - Making Cordials and Elixirs - Becky Starr

In this learning circle, we will look at two different methods for preparing cordials and elixirs. Both alcohol and water extraction methods will be demonstrated and we will sample some concoctions made from fruits, spices and herbs. We will also bottle a few tasty treats for sharing.

The word cordial is derived from the Latin cor, meaning heart. The cordial was shared between friends and loved ones to bring heart to a situation. An elixir refers to an aromatic preparation made with tonic herbs that can be taken daily as a tonic. Tonic herbs nourish and balance body organ systems and can be taking over a long period of time.

Walking in the footsteps of Grandfather - Rob Plaugher

This is the land of sage, sweetgrass and tobacco - where the two-leggeds are brethren to the four-leggeds, the creatures of the air and of the water. The sun walks the same path across all of the face of Grandmother Earth, but the view from the red road upon this sacred and mundane world is somewhat different. There is a very physical relationship to spirit, utilitarian views of life and death, and the very different roles of family and of tribe. We will tell and share stories from the voice of this particular land - from the gifts of White Buffalo Woman to the lessons of Coyote. Come to share your story or come to listen to the stories of others; come to walk, if even for just a few moments, on the red road beneath your feet.

Ideally, we will be outdoors for this exchange, and neither freezing our butts off nor playing dodgeball with raindrops. (snow would be cool though!)

Cooking for Pagans - Ashley Lee

I am Pagan and I use the bounty given to us by The Goddess and God to create dishes to share with loved ones. I use these bounties to keep my foods fresh and healthy. Come and find out how you can create dishes easily and inexpensively using foods available from our own gardens, or the gardens of others.

Crafting a Book of Soul - Kim Burton

The world and our soul work together to reveal themselves to us in subtle ways: Words, images, discoveries, intuition, found objects, color, dreams, ideas, music, movement, relationships to one another in this world and beyond. Find creative ways to capture these insights into your soul's journey by handcrafting a "Book of Soul"-it may become your Book of Shadows, more or less, as you choose to reflect upon it.

Not a writer? Not an artist? No problem-we'll discuss using found images, words, art, and objects as well as book-making. All attendees are encouraged to bring writing (yours or others), found objects, pictures, etc. if you'd like to incorporate them into your Book of Soul.

Hiking in the Winter Landscape - Tim Woody

Taylor Pond Trail

James River State Park 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.

Labyrinths - Dick Merritt

Labyrinths have many shapes and uses. Some are built into the floor and others can be carried in a bag. We will discuss building and using labyrinths. If the weather cooperates, we may walk one.

Nurturing the Self through Isa, Ceres and Manipura - Sharon Hill

Truth is found in every belief system. The care and feeding of the Soul is a key issue in every spiritual tradition. In this workshop we will take our eclectic pagan selves on a journey through three spiritual systems to the same destination-the nourishment of the Soul. Isa is the ice rune, symbol of stillness and the self in Norse spirituality. Ceres is the Roman Grain Goddess, also know n by the Greeks as Demeter (da- Mater, the Mother). Manipura is the Sanskrit name for the third chakra, located in the solar plexus (small sun), and representing the energy center associated with the Self. We will weave and merge these knowledge systems using lecture, discussion, journey, posture, and breath work. Come play in the realms of sacred wisdom and feed your soul.

Energy Work - A hands on workshop - Bob Tuggle

There are multitudes of energetic systems: Healing Touch, Chakra Work, Reiki, Polarity Therapy, acupressure, crystal healing, sound therapy, Shamanic work and others. Explore how you tap into available energies for healing and change, protection and guidance And for shaping your future. The session will be divided into about equal parts class and hands-on. Geared to beginner and intermediate but all levels can benefit from the experience.

The Narrative Tarot - Joyshine

This workshop will explore Tarot as a storytelling tool - after all, divination is the process of telling the possible stories of our lives, right? Thinking about a Tarot reading as a story, rather than a set of instructions or suggestions, can help readers develop and trust their intuition, recognize multiple possibilities or paths, and see the complexity and nuances in the spread. We'll think about techniques and tools - such as particular kinds of spreads or decks, as well as ways of thinking about and approaching the cards - that can help us, as Tarot readers, see the stories in our readings. There will also be time for discussion and practice readings.

This workshop will assume a very basic knowledge of the structure of the Tarot (what the suits are, what the Major Arcana is, etc), but "expertise" is certainly not necessary. Participants should bring one (or more, if you like!) Tarot deck and writing materials.

Digging Deep - Maddy

The darker months of the year give us the opportunity to go deep into ourselves and see if there's anything that needs work or transformation. But how do we see what we wouldn't normally see? How do we find our true selves and what lurkes beneath the surface of our psyche? What lessons does our Totem or Spirit Guides have in store for us? We will begin at the World Tree, create our inner temple, and embark on our individual journeys to find or reconnect with our personal Totem (the guide who has been with us throughout our lives) and Spirit Guides (who come and go though often remain for long periods of time). We will become more aware of our higher selves, and more aware of the symbolism that weaves its way through our daily lives, calling attention to those themes and paterns we often disregard, but will be able to recognize and utilize for personal transformation throughout the coming year and the rest of our lives. Bring your journal as you'll want to record and return to your recollection of this experience for years to come. Feel free to bring your own medicine decks and books on animal or other spirit guides or totems. If you've already worked with them, feel free to bring a picture or likeness of your totem or spirit guide(s) that you'd like to share with others.

Developing a Personal Relationship with Deity: Honor, Sacrifice, and Devotion - Ceffyl

Deities are at the center of many faiths, whether Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan, Christian, or eclectic. The magic of the world is expressed through Them. By coming to understand and work with a particular deity, we can better understand ourselves and the world around us.

In this workshop, you will learn about:

  • Finding and choosing a Deity;
  • Researching Deities using reliable, scholarly sources;
  • Understanding a Deity's historical context and how you can use this information in your own practice; and
  • Building and maintaining a relationship with your chosen Deity.


Kimberly S. Burton's spiritual practice is guided by the desire to learn how one's life can achieve its highest spiritual ideals. For 30+ years, she has conducted personal research and professional scholarship related to historical and modern interpretations of Pagan/fringe traditions, including Garderian, Alexandrian, and Dianic Wicca; Eygptian, Greco-Roman, and Ritual Magic; Norse Heathenism; Gnosticism and Kabbalah. Her personal practice is generally semi-solitary, eclectic/Celtic Wicca-the Morrigan and Athena are longstanding touchstones for her magic, prayer, and meditation. The study and practice of tarot, herbalism, animal behavior, kitchen witchery, and fine art, and dance are all aspects of her Craft. Professionally Kim has instructed medieval, Renaissance, and fantasy literature courses as well as writing across the disciplines. She continues to learn every day.

Cynthia Campbell Cynthia Campbell is a full-time mom and long-time pagan. She learned to spin at Spring Quest 2002, a skill which has grown to become her passion, along with knitting, crochet, and weaving. She has taught learning circles for CSQ, Celebrate the Circle, and Idhavelli Hof. Cynthia lives in Hillsborough, NC with husband Dan, two daughters, a cat, and two gerbils.

Ceffyl has been a devotee of Epona since 1990, and one of Her priestesses since 2001. Her personal path centers around learning more about using historical context as a source of inspiration. She is a contributing author of Epona.net, a Scholarly Resource. Ceffyl is a professional writer whose time is divided between research and writing, the Writing Day Job (which she loves), her two "kids" (horses), and three medically challenged cats. She has been active in the pagan community in both North Carolina and Tennessee since 1990.

Chrissy Forsythe Chrissy Forsythe is a full-time person.

Sharon Hill is a licensed therapist, certified employee assistance professional, teacher, healer, shaman, and mystic. She teaches often in the pagan community and has interest in runes, chakras, shamanism, Jungian psychology, personal growth, astrology, tarot, and the Dark Goddess. She lives in Durham with her lovely companion Silver.

Joyshine is an eclectic Pagan priestess living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. She has over six years of experience reading Tarot for herself and others. For Joyshine, the Tarot is an accessible, intuitive way to tap into the Big Stories - the stories that are present in all of our lives - and use them to explore and illuminate that which seems unclear. She loves Story, in all its forms, and believes that the stories we tell have the power to open new avenues of thought, clarify desires and needs, and help us see deep and sometimes difficult truths about ourselves. Joyshine loves pomegranates, cats (though they make her sneeze!), and everything Neil Gaiman has ever written.

Ashley Lee "found" her path in her early 20's but always knew she was on a different spiritual path than her upbringing. Constantly learning she devotes her life to a few different genres of "Paganism" having felt the pull from the Celtic side of life all the way to her Native America ancestors. Having grown up with a Paternal Grandfather and Maternal Grandmother that both loved to cook, she found that her favorite place was the kitchen. Her other "happy place" is the outdoors doing just about anything.

Maddy was first introduced to Tarot in the late 1980's by a high school friend. Meditation, Lucid Dreaming, and Journeying were introduced by a college theology professor. By 1990, she'd met her first teacher, who (albiet too abruptly) exposed her to the world beyond what we see and can rationalize in our mundane world. Spirit guides have found her since childhood, but only recently did she come to the realization that her Totem (the guide who has been with her throughout her life) is Badger, thus explaining her tendency to "dig deep" and encourage the same from those whose lives she touches. She initially identified with the term pagan in the mid-1990's and since has studied and taught various methods of diviniation, meditation, protection, spellwork, comparative religions, personal transformation and various other pagan studies over the years. She is a 2nd Degree ReiKi Practitioner and a single mom of an awesome 16-year-old daughter who she loves more than life itself. After a year sabatical from teaching and pagan studies, and years of dodging the topic of High Magic, she's is now beginning her study of it and the Kaballah, and expects to take on study for ReiKi Master in the upcoming year as well.

Dick Merritt Dick Merrit, 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.

Rob Plaugher has been following an Earth-based spiritual path for a number of years, primarily in solitary practice. In recent years, he has quietly taken a more social path and active role in the local Pagan community of northwestern NC, including sometime involvement with CUUPS and current involvement with NCPO. Rob finds spiritual resonance within the traditions of the pre-european americans, and with the voice of the land itself. He is a son, a husband, a father, a grandfather. He pays his bills as a bodyworker and a reluctant geek. He chooses ceremony over ritual, values silence over prattle, and enjoys a good argument as much as a good story.

Becky StarrBecky Starr is an instructor by passion and training with interests in many areas. Currently, she is in the final stages of starting Starrlight Mead, a honey winery, expected to open in 2010. 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 a past President and Vice President on the Board of Trustees for CSQ. Becky is an eclectic pagan, a Priestess of Isis and Freyja, and has attended the SE Women's Herbal Conference for the past 4 years.

For more information, contact the Director, Dick Merritt, at dickmerritt@mindspring.com or (919) 644-6310.

For more information about Carolina Spirit Quest, please contact info@carolinaspiritquest.org.
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Last updated 11/29/2009