Open Circle

Etlan, Virginia, United States

  • Last updated: September 1, 2017 (1 second ago)
  • Listing created on: January 8, 2009

Mission Statement

Our community life is based on personal affinity, which means that persons and relationships come first and everything else follows from that. We want to live creatively, and in ways that are fulfilling for all our members.

Community Description

Our community is based on personal affinity, which means that persons and relationships come first and everything else follows from that. We are experimental and we embrace change. We have been working at this (under various names) for more than 40 years. We find that the community spirit is powerful and alive and needs to be nurtured every day with caring attention to each other, our feelings, and our needs. We meet several times a week for this purpose and to coordinate our action. We have seven members, and most of us have years of prior community experience.

Located in central VA, we are within an hour & a half of Twin Oaks, Acorn, Living Energy Farm, Cambia, Mimosa, and Compersia. We have close connections with members of Twin Oaks, Ganas, and Compersia communities and we exchange energies for mutual benefit.

We are lucky to live in a true beauty spot at the base of Old Rag Mountain near Etlan VA. Our 97 acres of mostly forested land borders on Shenandoah National Park. We have created (and continue to create) a great physical environment for community living, including a farmhouse, three cabins, and two gardens. We also have a three-story mixed-use building in the nearby town of Culpeper, Virginia, and two of our members live there.

We are a close-knit group and pay a lot of attention to our relationships and our personal growth. We circle together for meals most days, do gardening and projects together, and hold meetings several times a week; this serves us well in staying connected and coordinating our efforts. We wish to grow our community in ways that are sustainable emotionally, financially, and environmentally. We want to live creatively, and in ways that are fulfilling for all our members.

We feel that sharing is essential to group living. We make group decisions and go up or down together accordingly. We expect every member to make appropriate contributions of time and money so that we all stay in balance.

Over the next several months, we want to take the time to fully integrate our new and returning members. We need to reorganize and do some thinking together about new directions. And we want to settle in to who we are now as a community. For this reason, we want to postpone visitor periods and other steps on the track to membership for new people until the end of 2017 or early 2018.

About

  • Type(s): Commune (organized around sharing almost everything)
  • Location: Rural

Housing

  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 97 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Room(s) in a house or building, Tiny house
  • Current Number of Residences: 3
  • Housing Provided: Included in Membership
  • Land owned by: The entire community membership

Membership

  • Adult Members: 7
  • Child Members: 0
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 61-70%
  • Percent Men: 21-30%
  • Visitor Process:

    Over the next several months, we want to take the time to fully integrate our new and returning members. We need to reorganize and do some thinking together about new directions. And we want to settle in to who we are now as a community. For this reason, we want to postpone visitor periods and other steps on the track to membership for new people until the end of 2017 or early 2018.

  • Visitors accepted: No
  • Membership Process:

    Starting in early 2018, Open Circle will welcome visitors who share our zest for learning and adventure. We will enjoy hearing from you—if you are friendly, open minded, and resourceful. Let’s start with an email. If you send us your phone number, we’ll be happy to call you.

  • Additional Comments:

    Everyone is free to follow their own spiritual path.
    We believe in life-long learning through self-education.

Government

  • Decision Making: group decision-making
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No

Economics

  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: No
  • Shared Income: Partial share of income
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    All members contribute to the pool by taking initiative to find income opportunities. Currently, our members create income by providing services to persons outside the community.

    We expect every member to make labor contributions. We aim for balance and harmony, rather than a set number of hours.

    We expect every member to contribute financially to the pool. We aim for a balanced financial relationship, rather than specific fees or dues.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Energy sources: Biomass
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Current food produced: Between 26-49%
  • Planned food produced: From 50-75%
  • Food produced locally: Almost All, around 90%

Lifestyle

  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Vehicle Share, Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Hot tub or hot springs, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Fire pit, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for some people.
  • Shared meals: Approximately all dinners
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Paleo (no grains, dairy, processed foods, or legumes), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan, Opportunivore (dumpster diving, nature harvesting, etc.), Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We aim for a healthy diet.
    Dietary practice is up to each individual.
    You must go outside to smoke. Currently we have no tobacco users.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Not a particularly spiritual or religious community
  • Education Style(s): Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

We have rural and small town properties.

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)

Community Affiliations

Twin Oaks, Ganas, Compersia

Fair Housing Laws

This community acknowledges that their listing does not include any potential violations of the Fair Housing Law, or that they do not provide housing. For any questions about this topic please see our Content Policies and contact FIC with any questions or concerns: [email protected].