Category Archives: Woman-craft

The Red Tent has a history, but what is it?

Women often ask these questions when they discover red tents.

  • Was there a Red Tent in history?
  • Why do women need Red Tents?
  • There’s a Red Tent movement, where?
  • How am I a part of it?

Learn the surprising history of the Red tent. A new eBook & Audiobook titled “The Red Tent Movement: A Historical Perspective” by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather.

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An excerpt from the eBook:

There are thousands of women across the globe who are bringing forth their gifts as Red Tent leaders in their communities. Women who are standing in their power are essential to shifting present paradigms; these pioneers are a balm to an ailing world. But after years of oppression, how do women rise up out of trauma to remember the beauty that lives at one’s core? How do we strip away that which prevents us from rising as wise female leaders? This reclamation work is what many are a part of because when we find our voices, our inspired action, and our needed vision then we stand a better chance at creating a world we can thrive in. And it is with this spirit that the Red Tent movement has flourished as a global phenomenon.

Most women have heard of the Red Tent because they read the book. The Red Tent was novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 that gave us a story of women who come together in a menstrual hut, known as the Red Tent. In the story, Diamant retells the biblical rape story of Dinah. “The Rape of Dinah” (Genesis, chapter 34) was recounted not by Dinah, but by her brothers. Diamant provided a fictional feminist retelling of the tale, giving Dinah her own voice. The book is presented through Dinah’s eyes and those of the women around her. The story showed us how the women raised young daughters who were taught the secrets held for women by women through initiation, stories, and relationships. For many, the story resonated deeply and caused us to question if there was a place like this in our society.

The Red Tent novel originally did not have a great impact on women’s lives. This began to change when the author herself initiated a word-of-mouth campaign by giving copies away to Rabbis, female Christian leaders, and independent booksellers. This approach proved successful, and by 2002 The Red Tent had become a New York Times bestseller and a publishing phenomenon. The book has since been published in twenty-five countries and translated into twenty languages.

Following the success of the book, Diamant’s number one question from her readers was whether or not the Red Tent ever existed. Here is her quoted response from her website:

It’s important to note that I have never claimed that the women of the Bible actually used a menstrual hut; there is no historical evidence to support such a claim. However, since there have been menstrual tents and huts throughout the pre-modern world, it seemed historically plausible to give them one. The importance of the tent developed in the process of writing, but the idea of making it a place of community, rest, and celebration predates [the book]. Some years prior to starting the book, I heard a lecture by a Jewish writer…who suggested rethinking a biblical law that required separation of a woman from the community for 60 days after the birth of a girl compared to 30 days after the birth of a boy…. This could be seen as a reflection of the notion that girl babies made mothers more “unclean” than boys. The lecturer asked us to consider a different theory, which was far more interesting to me. Perhaps, he said, this was an acknowledgment that giving birth to a birth-giver was a more sacred, a more powerful experience. The extra month could be seen not as a punishment, but as a reward.[i]

Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions show us that the Red Tent has a history: The idea of a separate women’s space or menstrual hut is not a new idea. Anita Diamant claims that the Red Tent in her book was fictionalized, but is rooted in research from Africa. Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions shape women’s understanding of the Red Tent as a women’s power space. There are menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions all over the world that date back to 800 C.E and in some places are still practiced today. These spaces offer a unique view of the Red Tent, but do they reinforce or contradict patriarchal oppression?

To READ MORE or for an audio sample of this excerpt or to purchase the eBook/audiobook visit: http://www.redtentmovie.com/audio-book.html

 Guest post by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather

About the Authors:

Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD is trained as a both a filmmaker, a textile historian, and a feminist folklorist. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She wants to create world where women believe they can accomplish anything and where they have the courage to change the world. She creates multi-media (films, videos, websites, and other designs) to inspire YOU and improve your life! She believes in creating a world that promotes cooperation rather than competition and believes in the value of sisterhood and women’s community. She has a deep love of textile traditions, which is why she has made 13 documentary films about women & fabric. Her award-winning, internationally known red tent movie “Things We Don’t Talk About,” has been keeping her very busy doing hundreds and hundreds of screenings & facilitating life-changing women’s events. www.redtentmovie.com

ALisa Starkweather is the founder of the Red Tent Temple Movement, Daughters of the Earth Gatherings, Women in Power initiations, Priestess Path women’s mystery school, the online Fierce Feminine Life series, and the Women’s Belly and Womb Conference. ALisa is also in the award winning anthology, Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership; Where Grace Meets Power. She has been facilitating women’s empowerment for three decades of her life. www.alisastarkweather.com

This article may not be re-published without permission from the authors. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

[i] Diamant, Anita. Website. Accessed Sunday November 1, 2009.

http://anitadiamant.com/?page_id=320

What if I Said YES to the Moon?

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What if I said yes to the moon?

What if I let my calendar mind fall quiet and forget

Let that incessant load of lists get parked

Over there,

by the side of the road

That I used to follow

when I thought I knew who I was

when I thought I knew what I was.

What if I fell still enough to hear the tides

The ones that rise and fall me

The ones that deeply inform me

The ones that guide and nourish me

That teach me who I am

When I let myself soften enough

To be carried inside

Carried and watered by the nature that lives me

When I do, will it show when you see me?

When I step out of time, out of line

Back into the full circle

of womankind?

Back into the river of life

That shows me who I am

So that now, I make sense to myself

So that now, I reclaim myself

And so it is

Rediscovered as woman

Amazed, inspired and captivated

Infused by that deeper flow that knows

Making sense to myself as the seasons unfold

I am home

Home on the inside in a life that is mine

Home in a mystery that makes sense to my soul

Back, on the throne of woman

~Clare Dakin, TreeSisters Founder

TreeSisters is launching explore our radical and revelatory new five week on-line course for women: Earthing The Moon – Reclaiming the Inner Gateways of Feminine Potency, Creativity, Sexuality and Spirituality

www.EarthingTheMoon.com

There are teachings that are the birthright of every woman alive.

Teachings that can reveal us to ourselves – that can replace ignorance with reverence, shame with self respect and pain with healing – teachings that can guide us into relationship with our bodies and wombs as the most profound spiritual teachers that we could ever know or need.

Radical? Yes. Gloriously radical – life changing and fundamentally feminine. Inside us we house a gateway to creation that is also a path back to ourselves.

Birthing Ourselves into Being

What does it mean to belong?

To belong to a place? To a community?

But even more importantly…What does it mean to belong to yourself? To be yourself so fully that you colour the world around you with your presence and passion?

This is what I have been learning – and living – for the past few years. It is enriching beyond belief. But it can also feel lonely. Because very often the places that we live geographically, do not hold soul communities for us.

We can find ourselves living alongside people who share very different values. And yet our human souls long to belong. To know and be known. Deeply.

We yearn to touch…and express our soul truths. To live them out. But somehow it can all get lost in the midst of our busy lives. And so we put it off. Until later. Until we have the time. Or find the right group.

But what if that time was now? What if that opportunity was right here, waiting for you simply to say yes?

What if it there was a community who were traveling alongside you, sharing the journey, offering resources…which you could access from the comfort and safety of your own home.

If…

:: You have longed for a women’s circle, but didn’t have the time to go to one, or any like-minded folks to start one with.

:: You have been in the midst of transformation for so long and are finally ready to take the leap.

:: You have an abundance of creative energy & need assistance in channeling your power.

:: You want support & structure around placing yourself at the center of your own life.

:: You are searching for a spiritual home base that celebrates the Sacred Feminine in a real, grounded way.

:: You long to feel connected and take your place in a sacred circle where your gifts are honored & appreciated.

Then this is for you.

Birthing Ourselves into Being.

An Interactive, Online Women’s Circle – Connecting Your Personal Transformation with the Evolution of the New Matriarchy

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A 13 month exploration. A community. A crucible for growth, exploration and transformation. Established by women of the deepest integrity and vision. With guest teachers including Dr Jean Shinoda Bolen, Susun Weed, myself and a dozen other healers, artists, teachers, women’s circle leaders…(See the full line up here.)

This isn’t just more inspiration, affirmation, or lecture on how changing your thoughts will change your life. We are not going to tell you to do another cleanse, get organized, fake it until you make it, or think good thoughts. We’ve already been there & know that’s only half of the story. We are moving out further from the edge. Birthing Ourselves into Being is about claiming your Birthright to sit in the center of your own life, to collaborate with creation & to experience everyday miracles. The teachings and theory presented here have come directly from the authentic experiences of women who have done just that.

BOiB is organized & designed specifically for your modern, busy, saturated life. BOiB will weave throughout your days a simple, steady call back to your own wisdom, holding space for the woman you are becoming. We are here to sing this song together.

BOiB has been built by women, for women, in harmony with the natural ways women create. There is an honoring & respect for women’s process & emotions. This translates to holding sacred space for darkness as well as light, for emptiness as well as abundance, for mystery as well as certainty, for the knowing and for the not knowing.

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Each month brings theme-specific exercises, ceremonies, and powerful teachings to take you step by step through the process of bringing your vision into reality. Our journey will follow this path:

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Welcome :: Homecoming
January :: Reweaving the Story of Your Own Birth
February :: Sexuality and the Creative Force of Change
March :: Fertility
April :: Conception: Courting the Miracle of Change
May :: First Trimester: Initiation, Identity, and Self-Esteem
June :: Second Trimester: Flowing with the Present
July :: Third Trimester: At the Edge of Transformation
August :: Birth
September :: Postpartum: Movement into Mothering
October :: Aging
November :: Death
December :: Birthing the World into Being

I will be there too. Learning and in community alongside each of you who choose to join. I am so looking forward to it.

You can sign up here to join us.

I really hope you do.

Here’s to us all – growing within ourselves, within community, in 2015. May it be a year of magical transformation, shifts and creativity.

Lucy H. Pearce, The Happy Womb

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Memory Box

Loretta joined us at the East Cork Red Tent in June and spoke incredibly movingly about a poem she was writing. A poem about memory and forgiveness, about the line of pain and healing which passes down from mother to daughter, and its location in our wombs. I immediately asked her if I could see it for The Happy Womb, and am so honoured that she has allowed me to share it with you here as a guest post.

Memory Box

I am kneeling in my Grandmother’s kitchen
Slippery smells of iron and blood
Hang
Clotting in the air
Wearing my childbirth apron,
I gently unfurl my wounded inheritance
Poultice applications and salves of love
and forgiveness
Ready to apply.

I unstitch my foot soles, two flapping footprints
Examining the roads and trails these
Sentient beings have taken
Each labyrinth a path and player
In my identity.

I pop my corneas and holding each up to the light,
I peer through these misted lenses
These look outs which have captured all that myself
And my grandmothers have seen, watched and
Looked away from.

I scrub my tongue, lengthways and widthways,
Scouring at the sounds, roars and attempts to be heard
Embedded on it
All that we have spoken and hushed and cried and howled
I slice my belly open and reaching in
I touch my womb, pulsating and piping hot
In my cradling hands
Our womb, which has drawn down life and death
In dark bogs and air conditioned rooms
I run warm water through it, better examining the
Cemented imprints of coiled foetuses and smudged
Out souls, I cry for my grandmothers
For their children and mine.

I am resolute in my demand
That the pain stops here
I pray for healing in
The cleaning of this
Old memory Box.

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lorettaLoretta Kennedy is a freelance writer and advocate who lives in Cork with her partner and children.

Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as ‘The Stinging Fly’, ‘The Burning Bush’, ‘The Cuirt Journal’
and the poetry anthology ‘Jacobs Ladder’ (Six Gallery Press).Her parenting articles have appeared
in magazines such as ‘Juno’ and ‘Easy Parenting’.

She has worked as a stage manager, a magazine
editor, a nurse and an advocate and now primarily as a mother to three wild girls. She is currently
training as a birth doula.

Treat Yourself!

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How do you treat yourself?

My treats of choice are soft fruit. cake… and BOOKS!

I’m doing a Midsummer Sale – so that you can treat yourself (or a sister, friend or daughter).

So if you’ve been waiting to grab a paperback or e-book copy of:

  • Moon Time,
  • The Rainbow Way,
  • Reaching for the Moon,
  • Moods of Motherhood
  • Or a moon dial…

They are all 20% off till this Sunday night.

(The discount is applied direct to your shopping cart, no coupon required!)

And whilst we’re on the subject of treating ourselves, my ultimate way has always been with CAKE!

But unfortunately I’ve have had to rethink this recently for health reasons.

I have talked to many women over the past couple of months who have also realised what a big impact wheat and sugar have on their energy levels, weight, mental health, mood and menstrual cycle… Today’s post over on my other blog, Dreaming Aloud, is about my reluctant journey to low sugar, gluten free eating …

Read more

Encouragement For Women’s Workers Everywhere: When You Are Feeling Downhearted, Alone and Misunderstood

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I was blown away by the response to yesterday’s post: Why Aren’t Women Interested in Women’s Work? It received over ten times the usual daily views. And elicited an outpouring of support and empathy from readers and fellow women’s workers from around the world. What a circle of women we have gathered here!

It showed me that a lot of us are dealing with the same sort of feelings and responses… are nursing the same worries and concerns. We are showing up wholehearted… and finding few out there who are yearning to engage wholeheartedly with us. Or finding that people are expressing interest… but not showing up. And it can be disheartening. Leading us to question: ” am I on the right path, am I doing the right thing?” If my passion is helping women, how can I become more accessible, how can I be more of service, whilst staying true to my values and supporting myself?

I believe our work really matters, and so it seems to hundreds of others who registered their support yesterday –  on Facebook pages, message chats, over a kitchen table with a steaming hot cup of lemon balm tea, and in the lounge after dinner. I wanted to condense the insights that I garnered here to share the immense collective insight.

“All around me I see suppressed people, crying out for SOMETHING, but they don’t even know what that is, because they’ve been kept in the dark so long.

 I used to think if a lot of the stuff I now hold as my core belief system, as claptrap, hooey… I suppressed everything and was a total mental and physical wreck as a result!

Look around you. These women NEED you. They just don’t know it yet!”

Zoe from Raw Yoga

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Why Aren’t Women Interested?

This is the thought that struck me between the eyes.

I had just done a book reading of my #1 Amazon Best Selling book, The Rainbow Way… to an audience of one.

I had just led a red tent circle with 14 women… most of whom had travelled 40 minutes or more to be there.

I am about to lead a workshop… a free women’s workshop… and am aware that numbers may well be small.

Where are all the women? If this truly is women’s work… then why are they at One Direction in their tens of thousands… and not here? Why are they reading 50 Shades… and not Moon Time?

 

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Why aren’t women interested in women’s work… if it’s about women… and if there is no price barrier? Why is if off-putting? Why are creative mothers not interested in learning more about how to support their creative selves? Why women aren’t interested in learning more about how their bodies work if they are struggling with fertility or PMS? Why women don’t feel a need for women’s space? Why many women would rather run a mile than engage in stuff which could directly benefit and support them…

I often apologise to people that my work is niche…

But how can something which is accessible to 50% of the population be “niche”?

But it is. It truly is.

I know that most of the women I know personally, who I meet in the course of our daily lives have zero interest in what I do. They would not come along to a red tent, or read a book on womancraft, even if they were paid.

Partly because of preconceptions about what might be said or done at such a thing. But mainly because they do not feel a need.

My mind boggles at this… how can women NOT feel a need to find a way to live at ease in their bodies, in our patriarchal culture? Are they not chaffed by it every day? Are they not shut down by it in all the ways I was, and am, and do they not long for a little space to breathe freely, to speak freely? A few ideas which, like oxygen, can keep them alive, which speak to how they see and feel the world?

Apparently not.

And that confuses me hugely. For if my work is not attractive to the women in my local area, if it is not desirable… but rather avoidable, awkward, embarrassing… then surely it is not women’s work… if women don’t want to do it…

For every woman who finds it and cries tears of relief for finding a space which feels like home. For finding words which speak to her soul and shift her life. There are hundreds of others left cold by it.

I feel an edge-walker in my community. I realise there are women in the world who would walk over hot coals to work with me, who eagerly await my next book. But here I am a weird anomally. My work almost incomprehensible. What is it? Why would we want to do that?

Two clues for me emerged: one at church over the weekend. I was there for the funeral of a much-loved woman in our community. The church was standing room only, the crowds spilling out into the sunshine, to pay their respects to this beautiful loving soul. But instead of focusing on her tremendous hearts and gifts, the priest, one of 5 there officiating, spent 20 minutes telling us about the male god and how he created the world, and how the son of god saves us from it, and how it was humans who brought suffering into the world, how we were unworthy sinners… my bile rose. I bit my tongue. it has been a long time since I was in a church. But most of my community would go every week. And if you listened to this every week, as well as mascerating in our culture of male agendas, you have to have some way of justifying it, of squaring it and making it bearable… as to why your gender, and therefore you, were irrelevant, second-class… and have been for centuries.

The second clue is dropped by  Sue Monk Kidd in her superb book on feminine spiritual awakening which I am reading for a second time:

“Like the Sandman from the nursery story, who stole into children’s rooms and put them to sleep by sprinkling sleep dust over them, our culture, even the culture of our faith, has helped anesthetize the feminine spirit.

“I like the way that Clarissa Pinkola Estes puts it:

“When a woman is exhorted to be compliant, cooperative and quiet, to not make upset or go against the old guard, she is pressed into living a most unnatural life – a life that is self-binding… without innovation. The world-wide issue for women is that under such conditions they are not only silence, but put to sleep. Their concerns, their viewpoints,  their own truths are vapourised.”

Women don’t see the need for this work, don’t feel the need for it… because they don’t see or feel that there’s anything particular wrong…in their lives, or their culture.

But there comes a time, when a woman feels herself chaffed  too hard. When she finds herself going mad in the ordinary world. When traumatised by a birth, depressed post partum, angry at having no support whilst working and caring for a home and family, navigating menopause and she finds herself alone, abandoned and uncared for by the culture to which she had given her allegiance in return for her silence… in that moment she feels her longing rise, a longing for a culture which supports her, in which she does not have to hide her full self, or apologize for herself. Which can help her to navigate this inner world to which she has been numb her whole life.

Then, and only then, she will run towards womancraft like a thirsty woman towards a desert oasis. So grateful that it is there.

And I am there, for that moment. Waiting quietly in the dark… calling you home. An anomally, a holding space. With no agenda but to hold and hear you, and offer you a bag of tools.

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I was deeply touched and honoured that this post was UBER popular amongst women workers around the world. For a compilation of their wise and insightful responses see this post, as well as the comments below and on the Facebook page.