Who attends Earth-centered celebrations?

People who follow Earth-centered traditions refer to themselves by many names: pagan, mystic, and Wiccan are some of the names you might hear. You do not have to identify as any of these, or even as following an Earth-centered path, to participate in and enjoy WUUC’s celebrations. All of our celebrations are open and welcoming of anyone who wishes to participate with an open mind and willing heart.

When do these celebrations occur?

WUUC currently honors the Unitarian Universalist Sixth Source with special Sunday morning celebrations throughout the year. We usually celebrate three to four “Sixth Source Sundays” during the regular church year and we occasionally have celebrations outside of the regular Sunday service. Check the calendar for upcoming earth-centered celebrations. Below are some of the holidays we celebrate.

Samhain
Oct. 31

Commonly regarded as the Celtic New Year, this is a time of introspection, of honoring ancestors, of preparing for winter. It is the last harvest.
Beltane
May 1

Celebrate fertility as the land is now ripe and ready to begin producing food. A favorite celebration at Beltane is the dancing of a Maypole and the crowning of a May King and Queen.
Yule / Winter Solstice
Dec. 21 or so (varies)

A festival of light, a time to celebrate the return of the Sun, this is a time to feast, to celebrate with family and friends.
Litha / Summer Solstice
June 21 or so (varies)

This day is the longest day of the year. Like Samhain, this is a time to honor ancestors and also a time to celebrate the green and bountiful Earth, our Mother.
Imbolc / Candlemas
Feb. 2

Celebrate the very beginning of Spring in this celebration filled with the light of candles to encourage the young sun to continue to grow brighter and warmer
Lammas / Lughnasadh
Aug. 1

The first harvest of the year is the beginning of shorter days. Since the first corn or grain harvest often occurs at this time, bread and cornbread are often featured during celebrations.
Ostara / Spring Equinox
Mar. 21 or so (varies)

A celebration of Spring and fertility, often including fresh flowers and colored eggs to symbolize fertility.
Mabon / Autumn Equinox
Sept. 21 or so (varies)

The second harvest of the year is the time to harvest apples and pears and the last of the grain. This is a time to give thanks for the bounty of the Earth.

What happens during Earth-centered celebrations at WUUC?

Many celebrations use a standard pagan or Wiccan circle format with some or all of the following elements.

Cleansing: Participants are blessed, often using smoke, water or oil, to prepare them mentally and physically for the celebration.

Calling the quarters and casting a circle: Because Earth Centered and Pagan traditions often do not have permanent places of worship, participants “build” their sacred space through calling the quarters and casting the circle. When calling the quarters, the leaders of the service call upon the cardinal directions and their associated aspects to guard the sacred space. Casting the circle “builds the walls” of the sacred space and defines the boundaries. At the end of the circle the quarters are dismissed and the circle taken down.

Calling the Divine: Many practitioners of Earth Centered traditions are theists, meaning that they recognize and honor a deity or higher power, often called the God and Goddess. Sometimes celebrations will call on specific deities from different parts of the world during the celebration.

Working: This is the main element of an Earth Centered celebration. Earth Centered traditions are most often experiential in nature – they rely on direct experience with the Divine or with the Earth as the foundation for their spirituality. Often, in place of a sermon, Earth Centered celebrations feature participatory elements that relate to the holiday being celebrated.

Who can I contact with questions about these celebrations?

If you have any questions regarding our Earth-centered celebrations, please contact Dan Ballard, Earth-centered Team Chair, through the church office. The email address for the church office is office@wuuc.org.