The oldest continually meeting earth-centered group in Virginia

Merry Meet!

The circle is open.

EarthRising celebrates the Seasons of the Earth and the Cross-Quarter days in support of Pagan, Pantheist, and a modern nature-centered spirituality. Two weeks before each scheduled Ritual, we come together to plan our celebrations. Check the Events Calendar for dates and times, and feel free to email if you have questions. The circle is always open for sharing ideas and inspirations.

Blessed be!

A colorful quilted banner featuring the eight seasons

When are the Rituals?

The eight Rituals are held on Fridays at 7:00 p.m. in the UUFP sanctuary. If you’d like to help plan a Ritual, come join the Friday planning sessions that occur two weeks before each scheduled Ritual.

Who is welcome?

Anyone with an open mind and an open heart and their loved ones. Yes, that includes children, and childcare can be made available to those who need it. Please let us know at least a week in advance.

What should I bring?

Feel free to bring a dish of your choosing to the potluck held after the ritual. To help people avoid potential allergens, please include a label with ingredients. Some labels are available at the UUFP.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

~ Chief Seattle

Celebrating the Rituals

Each evening begins with introductions, sharing impressions, and often a brief meditation. Within the Ritual space, we walk in a line three times to cast the circle. We call to each of the four directions for protection, wisdom and aid. Each ritual differs based on what we have planned. It usually end with a libation of non-alcoholic drink and a simple snack. We then rise, bid Farewell to each quarter and any entities we have invited in, and close the circle with a poem, reading, dancing or song.

To learn more about the individual Ritual dates and their meanings, click through the list below.

January - Imbolc

Alternatively spelled Imbolg, this ritual marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Thus, it is a fortuitous time to take stock, assess physical and spiritual supplies, cleanse and purify tools, and prepare ourselves for the year to come. Imbolc means “in the belly of the Mother”—the place where seeds are beginning to stir as Spring approaches. This ritual often honors the Celtic goddess Brigid, the deity of fire, healing, poetry, crafts and fertility.

March - Ostara

Ostara, the annual Spring Equinox (as well as the Germanic goddess of fertility, growth, and beginnings), is celebrated with eager anticipation by many religions in many places. Ostara marks a time to emerge from the darkness and close quarters of Winter and to begin searching for signs of life and growth. In the plant kingdom, seeds and shoots are beginning to sprout as Spring approaches. In the animal kingdom, creatures have begun to look for new sources of food, for opportunities to renew old acquaintances, and perhaps to start a family. This is a time of positivity, excitement, and possibility. As daylight has become equal to nighttime in length, the balance of light and dark is a major theme of this ritual.

April - Beltane

Beltane (pronounced Beltana) recognizes the sacred pairing of all creatures, including humans, that results in new life. It is a time to reflect on the mystery of our sacred yearning to come together in co-creation—in all of its possible manifestations. Beltane also marks the celebration of the “light half” of the year, when the days are growing ever longer, brighter, and warmer. This is the height of spring, bursting with flowers, newborn creatures, and a new exuberant creativity. Traditions vary, but we almost always finish this ritual with singing, drumming, and a Maypole Dance.

June - Litha

With Litha, or the Summer Solstice, we acknowledge the first day of Summer as the Sun reaches its northernmost position in the sky. It is a significant turning point in the Magical year: the days will become shorter and the nights longer. We also celebrate the beauty and bounty of the earth, as well as the power of the sun. We typically celebrate this holiday with bonfires or candle lighting, drumming, dancing, and—of course—a potluck feast.

July - Lughnasadh

The Celtic Holiday of Lughnasadh takes place at the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. In ancient Irish mythology, it was said to represent the Funeral Feast and Games created by the god Lugh to honor the life and sacrifice of his stepmother, Tailtiu. It can be celebrated in several different ways: giving thanks for the First Harvest of the growing season, celebrating the vibrant energy and warmth of Summer’s height, or simply fellowshipping and sharing and communion before the “busyness” of Autumn commences.

September - Mabon

The Mabon harvest festival encourages us to “reap what we sow,” both literally and figuratively. It is when Light and Darkness become equal again in duration. Thus, is it a time to express gratitude, complete projects, and honor a moment of balance and bounty. May we rest and reflect in solitude, with family and friends, and in the “Presence” of our Earthly abode.

October - Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. It is the dark twin of Beltane, the heart of autumn, and when the veil between this world and other worlds is stretched thin. We gather to honor our ancestors, give thanks for the Final Harvest, and renew the magic of Spirit in ourselves.

December - Yule

Yule, the Winter Solstice, marks the longest night and shortest day of the year when our Sun reaches the “still point” in the South. This astronomical phenomenon has been venerated and celebrated throughout time by many different civilizations. Join EarthRising as we celebrate the Longest Night of the Year, the arrival of Winter, and the return of the Light, as days begin to grow longer.