Category Archives: Empowerment

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

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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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Strong Like the Water

Today’s post from Jackie Singer sent shivers of soul recognition down my spine… I hope it does for you too.

What is an empowered woman like?

I keep returning to this question and wondering. What is the nature of feminine power? Is it different from masculine power? Do we have any models?

A year and a half ago I went to a Women and Earth Retreat, at Pistyll Rhaeadr in Powys. The long weekend was run by Annie Davey and Hilary Kneale at a campsite next to a magnificent waterfall.

waterfallPhoto by Zane Licite

At that time, as a mother of two small children, trying to keep my creative practices alive, and keep some money coming into the family coffers, I was feeling more than a wee bit weary, and yet I felt such a strong drive to make waves in the world. I travelled with this question: how can I step more fully into my power? It was the element of water that spoke to me in reply.

On the first bright, clear morning, we walked up the river valley to a mountain lake, and spent time sitting quietly by its shore. After a while, I bent low to the water, and noticed a tiny sound. Droplets of water were rolling from the soft moss into the lake. As I listened to their delicate music, I marvelled at how these sweet droplets were made of the same stuff that filled the great lake, and which had, over millennia, carved the entire valley. I was put in mind of the daily tasks of mothering, which in themselves are so small, yet which add up to something great. ‘Take heart’, the droplets seemed to say. ‘Each sandwich made, each sock hung up to dry, each goodnight kiss is a droplet that partakes of the great lake of love, which has huge power.’ This put me in mind of Mother Theresa’s advice that we should not pursue “great deeds” but rather “small deeds with great love.”

Later on that day, we chose the spots on the land where we would be alone for the next twenty-four hours. My place was sheltered by a sycamore tree, right by a stream. All day and night, the stream sang to me. I couldn’t see where the source of this flow was, it just endlessly poured by. I often sang along, and a little ditty emerged:

“From deep within, your blessings flow. You are the spring, you are the flow.”

In a world where I am regularly looking for affirmation from outside (a good pay packet, an award for achievement, preferably both), this was a beautiful reminder to look within for both affirmation and inspiration.

Within the last hour of our solo time, the sky grew overcast, and it started to rain. I was glad to pack up my sleeping bag, and head for shelter, warmth, food and company.

By the time I woke up early the next morning, it had been raining for 15 hours. As I wandered from the tent towards the shower block in my anorack, I became aware of a roaring sound. Looking up, I was stunned by the sight of the waterfall in full flow. What had been a graceful, white, maidenly fall of water when we had arrived, was now a thunderous, red Mumma in full power. I abandoned any thoughts of showering or breakfast, and headed straight for the waterfall. “YOU WANT TO SEE POWER?” she yelled, “I’LL SHOW YOU POWER!”

waterfall2Photo by Zane Licite

Here was charge enough to pound rock, and carry away trees: a vivid demonstration of what happens when millions of those little drops of rain from upstream run together. I kept a wary distance, but got soaked anyway. And a new song started forming in me . . .

Mother you call us home,

And all our journeys are as one,

And when we flow together,

Then we are strong.

We are strong like the water,

And our power is the flow.

Every sister, mother, daughter,

Come on and let your passion grow.

For the water knows no stopping,

And the water knows no pain,

So bring your burden to the water,

And be free again.

I’ve spent more than a year pondering the teachings from this retreat. I went with a question about power, and came home with an answer that was all about nourishment upstream. As a woman, especially a mother, it’s easy to run dry. Yet those little drops of love – a sandwich here, a kind word there – fill us up again, ready to flow, effortlessly. To be really powerful, we need really good nourishment upstream. And we are even more powerful, when individual tributaries meet.

Starting a monthly women’s circle last January has given me a tangible sense of what magic can be unlocked when women make a commitment to collaborate, celebrate and nourish each other. This is far from the Patriarchal idea of power, in which for me to be lifted up, someone else has to be subjugated. No, this is what the American activist / author / ritual-worker Starhawk defined as “power with” rather than “power over”. Individually, we each have our cycles of giving and needing to receive. If we carry on giving, we burn out. But by leading collectively, we take our turns to serve, and be served, as the need arises. In this way we flow together. We are strong like the water. And, as the water has been showing us abundantly over the past three months in the UK, that is very powerful indeed.

***

If you want to explore more about women and power check out Lucy’s series

1A power-full series for women who are ready to stop playing small and step into their power.

Written from the heart – these posts address:

  • why women struggle with power,
  • the dark side of women’s power,
  • how women keep other women down,
  • how to step into your own authentic power.

Read the series here…

 Today’s guest post author…

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Jackie Singer  is a writer, workshop leader, and independent celebrant, living in Oxford with her husband and two young girls.  She increasingly works with women and girls, exploring rites of passage and the archetypes of the Deep Feminine.  Jackie is author of Birthrites: Rituals and Celebrations for the Childbearing Years, and a regular contributor to Juno magazine.  Visit her blog at http://jackiesinger.wordpress.com.

She Who Dares… Gets Destroyed… By Other Women

It seems like I have been a BAD GIRL again. And deserve fifty lashes of a woman’s tongue. To punish me as someone who DARES to speak for “women” and not do it in exactly the way that this particular woman would do it. Who DARES to speak up… and not be perfect. She who DARES it seems, is cut off at the knees, is to be shamed and name called for daring. Because speaking up and speaking out makes you complicit with the patriarchal forces. Makes you guilty of thousands of years of rape, pillage, and domination…

For more visit my personal blog

Your Receptive Time: what it is…and why it is valuable

This is a guestpost by Barbara Hanneloré, founder of Women’s Way Moon Cycles.

Recently I was asked why I referred to the menstrual time of the month as being “receptive,” when it is, physically, a release of a flow outward. The woman said she would not think of that time as being receptive, and of course I could understand her point.

Why is menstruation considered a “receptive” time?

A receptive time of month is when we are more sensitive to impressions and more inwardly focused, which is what happens around the time of menstruation for most women. This is an energetic quality, more than a physical one. Menstruation is our “inner time,” energetically, when we turn toward ourselves and focus on our own feelings and needs.

This offers us a necessary and healing balance to all those other times of the month when we are most likely to be extending ourselves outward and focusing on other people!

When we think of our cycle as having “phases” throughout the month, like the moon or seasons, we can begin to appreciate these different qualities, and use them to our advantage.

“My cycle makes so much more sense, now that I understand what is happening all month long!” Renee, Realtor, TX

Generally, the time around ovulation is considered to be a “radiant” time of the month for a woman, like full moon or summer; our energy expands outward into social activity, projects and conversations. We are fully engaged with our community.

The balance to this outer focus is that the “light” then wanes as menstruation approaches – we enter a different phase, just as the moonlight and sunlight wane at certain times. Our quality becomes one of Being, more than Doing; we sit within ourselves, like dark moon or winter; our energy is drawing inward.

We are letting go of what no longer serves us, physically and on other levels as well. As we release the old, we absorb the beginnings of the new. Boundaries are more fluid at this time, and that means two we want to be open to new guidance and inspiration,while guarding ourselves from disturbing or exhausting input that has no value for us.

One of the reasons this time of month is so challenging for us is that we try to continue on with our lives as if nothing is happening, when we actually are being gifted with a highly sensitive time that can be a powerful tool for change! We are more affected by our surroundings, easily impacted, and need to take care of ourselves so as not to become overwhelmed or

“When I didn’t have enough energy, I just kept pushing, and really as I look back over the last couple decades, that
hasn’t served anyone!” Eva, Health Coach, OR

This is the time to step back and take a break – to gain wisdom by evaluating and making sense of the month that has just gone by. To receive guidance for the coming month. To absorb the subtle messages we may need in order to stay healthy and inspired.

We want to refresh and renew ourselves with yummy and comforting impressions – not deplete and exhaust ourselves with the overwhelm that we may deal with on a daily basis. The true gift of the menstrual time is that the sensitivity allows us to attain exquisite and transformative “inner” states of being – if we are not continually distracted by the “outer” concerns of

So – try to create a space for some “time out,” and guard this time as you would any other important appointment – free from unnecessary interruptions and disturbing images or drama. Take a break from the media! Save complex activities for a later time! Don’t engage in conversations that don’t feel good.

You can do it! This will be different for each woman, of course, but these personal “seasons” can become predictable, and used to your advantage. Not only for productivity, but for fulfillment as well…and when you’re happy, others are happy too!

Once you begin with small steps, more ideas will occur to you, and you will begin to transform your month into one that serves you, as it was meant to.
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Barbara HannDisplaying Image.jpgeloré is founder of Women’s Way Moon Cycles, a creative program that embraces the natural beauty of women’s cycles in a holistic and healing way. She has helped women re-discover the power of their inner rhythms through the gifts of Nature, Sacred Space and the Healing Arts for over 20 years. She is author of the award-winning book, The Moon and You: a Woman’s Guide to an Easier Monthly Cycle, and host of the virtual workshop, Welcome Your Rhythm.

Learn more at WomensWayMoonCycles.com.

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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