Category Archives: Women’s Circles

Red Tent Rising – A Resource-Full Post

I am just getting the supplies ready for our very first red tent gathering… a box of womancraft books for the red tent library, a piece of embroidery for the centre piece, a welcome sign, some futons for resting and reading…. It will be the first I know of in the south of Ireland… I am very excited.

Held on the dark moon, a red tent is a women’s circle which is open to all women in the community and offers a place to rest during menstruation, to connect with other women, share wisdom and be held in every stage of our female unfolding.

(Want to know more about what a red tent is? Watch my short video which I made for the red tent summit or grab a copy of my free red tent booklet – Password= love.)

I planted the seed of this red tent when I wrote Moon Time I had never been to a red tent, and there was little information out there about them. I was hungry for knowledge… so I reached out to some of the movement’s leaders, gathered all the information I could lay my hands on, and shared it in the book. That’s how I roll! Mine was the first print book to explore the phenomenon and support women in setting up their own. I have been told that it has inspired and supported the creation of red tents in the UK, Canada and Australia as well as an online one which I am a member of.

And now we will have our own real one, in our community.

My stomach is churning and I am being a little short with my family as my brain goes into tables and chairs mode. But the excitement is overriding it… the fact that this long held dream is being born, that so many women are curious about it, that this work, and a dedicated women’s space is opening up for our community… I just think of the growth, love, support, magic, empowerment, connection and healing that will emerge from the very existence of this space and shivers run down my spine…

More women sitting in circle together than ever have before in our community. Learning to speak their truth openly and be heard. From learning to listen with an open heart and without judgement. In having a place to come and be held, to rest and recharge. A place where new ideas can take seed, new books found, new friendships formed. Where women can learn to understand and trust and even celebrate their bodies.

How it came about…

I set myself a challenge out loud – which meant I couldn’t go back on it, by promising the proceeds of the e-versions of Moon Time would go towards establishing a local red tent! And since then I have researched and reflected and waited. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, I was waiting for conspirators… and when I met them I knew right away… I did not say anything to them at all about it –  I was in the midst of launching The Rainbow Way and I had only just met them… I just held the vision consistently affirming it, and gently released the women’s group I had run for 5 1/2 years which had run its course. Numbers were dwindling and we couldn’t find any more new participants…

And then two months later, the time was right for us all.  One of the women asked on Facebook if anyone knew of a women’s group or red tent in the area… and the flame was lit. Within an hour we had a FB group. And the other woman jumped right in as an admin, unbidden. Within a week we had a date and venue. In a month we have gotten over 100 women to our group, organically. We only invited 35 between us… the rest were just drawn to us.
We have had minor bumps in the road naturally, including our first venue cancelling only days before. But we have a new, better space now.

And our first meeting tonight and are expecting about 25 women…. many of whom I know personally, some I have only met online, one I taught blogging to, and others are completely new to me. For some it will be their first time doing women’s work with me… others have done much before having been part of our long running women’s group … there is an excitement tinged with deep nervousness, as no one knows quite what to expect. What is a red tent any way, they wonder… will it be for me? Will I be expected to sit around talking about their periods, will I know anyone else?

I try to allay the nervousness with information – links to the red tent summit which I have just spoken at, my booklet on starting a red tent, with reassurance and love…  but this is new, uncharted territory… of course there is apprehension.

Some are travelling nearly an hour to join us… others are following by Facebook – we hope to inspire them to start their own in their own community.

Are you ready for a red tent in YOUR neighbourhood? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have one in your city, town, village, or community?

Imagine not having to wait any longer…

Imagine knowing exactly how to create a Red Tent, monthly, where you, and your women friends, can simply BE, rather than DO…

DeAnna L’am who created the Red Tent Summit has created an Online Class designed to inspire, motivate, support and equip you, to start your own Red Tent.

The Global Tele-Tent Class starts on March 12, but you can register today.

I believe that the vision of a red tent in every neighbourhood – is possible in our life time!

And I want to help you make it a reality in YOUR neighbourhood!

Please join me, and women from all over the world, to make it so!

If you are looking for more resources I would recommend:

 

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Wise Women Found!

This guest post is from one of my favourite women’s authors, Jackie Singer.

In answer to Lucy’s recent blog post, Where are all the wise women? I would like to report that I have found two, at least, alive and well, and working in Dorset.spirit It all started last May, when I was coordinating a women’s lodge for the Sacred Arts Camp in Oxfordshire.  Our beautiful Mongolian yurt stood ready, and in morning meeting, my colleague Kesty Jakes and I stood up and invited women to come and help dedicate the space to the Divine Feminine.  It was the first time we had led this space together, and we didn’t know who would come, if anyone.

A few women gathered, and then through the small door squeezed the impressive figure of a large-boned woman, probably in her fifties, with long raven hair.  Her power and authority was palpable, and when she called in spirit to bless the space, it was clear she knew exactly what she was doing.  From that moment on, I knew the women’s lodge would be just fine.  And it was: an astonishing flow of healing and beauty, which needed only minimal coordination.

This woman, I discovered later, was Seersha O’ Sullivan, one of the teachers at Shamanka, a school of traditional women’s shamanism, based in rural Dorset.  I knew instinctively that she had something I wanted to learn.  I had a look at the Shamanka website, but hesitated.  Partly, I felt like a kid in a sweet shop; the programmes all looked so delicious.   On the other hand, the rational part of myself baulked at spending more money and time on this off-beat path.  Didn’t I have a young family to look after? Shouldn’t I be maximising my income?  After months of indecision, and working on some of these issues, I couldn’t resist any longer.  I jumped in with both feet, and signed up for the start of the two-year course in shamanic healing, which started this month.

Before going, we were encouraged to dream into the spirit of Shamanka, and record any images that occurred to us.  Shamanka, I learned, is the female version of the Shaman: a woman of power, vision, and healing.  Why had I not known that before?  When I visualised her, I saw Russian dolls, with small heads and wide bellies, one inside another.  I saw bright colours.  I saw the wild woman, with snakes for hair.  And then I dreamed of a team of animals, ready to pull some kind of carriage.  They had the bottom half of shire horses, with great, feathered hooves, and the top half of reindeer, with fabulous antlers reaching for the heavens.  I am greatly comforted by this image of a creature deeply grounded and capable of work on the earth, also fully plugged into a magical sky-realm.

So, I am fresh back from my first weekend, and full of wonder for what I have experienced.  The school was founded by Eliana Harvey, and here we meet another true Wise Woman.  Eliana described herself as ‘very antique’ and she is, indeed, 82 years old. In her long life, she has studied with all manner of uncompromising shamanic teachers, and carries a natural authority as soon as she walks into a room.  Still she was quick to point out that we were her teachers too.  I don’t know whether she matches Lucy’s image of a Wise Woman.  She probably doesn’t live in a shack in the woods, with row upon row of herbs in bottles.  She is short and neat in stature, and speaks with a refined English accent.  She could be a headmistress of a girls’ school, until she encourages us to “eff and blind as much as we like”.  The only swear words at Shamanka, she tells us, are “I’m terribly sorry” and “I’m awfully afraid . . .”  Hooray!

In her company, things that have unnerved me in the past, come to seem normal: tuning into stones, speaking with trees, just knowing things about people.  With Eliana, casting a mantle of luminous energy over someone is as matter of fact as buttering toast. I can heartily recommend all Shamanka’s courses, and there is one coming up just this weekend, which feels particularly relevant to The Happy Womb:  Cauldron of Mysteries :A powerful journey of re-discovery and potency of the Deep Feminine.(Click through link for flyer.)

The further I go in my journey towards the Divine Feminine, the more I come to understand how important the womb and the belly are to our power and intelligence as women. Trying to operate in the world without knowing this part of our body, is like trying to walk with only one leg.  I imagine that after this course, a woman would come home with not just a ‘happy womb’ but one awakened to the magic of creativity and access to deep wisdom.  A transformation of this kind is not just for the individual, but for the world.  I really believe this is the medicine we need right now, collectively.  I am so grateful to have found my teachers, and honoured to be an ambassador for their beautiful work.

Cauldron of Mysteries runs from 6th – 9th March at Star House, Middle Piccadilly – the home of Shamanka Healing.  

Contact 01963 23468 or info@shamanka.com For the full list of workshops and courses, visit http://www.shamanka.com. DSC00466

 

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.

 

Gather the Women

“We are a global sisterhood that connects women through circles. We create a safe place to share our true selves. Meeting in circle, we find our voices, claim our power and celebrate our self-worth, leading to personal and planetary transformation.”

Gather the Women – Vision Statement

Circle Mindfulness
Three years ago I read Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World and felt compelled to act within reading the first page! I contacted the organisation, Gather the Women, who encouraged me to create my own circle in Liverpool.

For the first time in my life, competition dissolved when I read this book. Collaboration, something that I was conditioned against, arose deeply and urgently. I felt compelled to collaborate, to help, to be part of something that I know, deep, deep down inside, will make a difference to the imbalance of female and male in our world.

At the time, I had no previous experience of circle and no idea what a circle was… Almost everything I’ve learned has been from my own experience. I’ve matured and grown with circle, learning a huge amount along the way in how to create a safe, nourishing space. I used social media, word of mouth and posters in local shops to gather the women of Liverpool: I found that social media is the modern word of mouth!

Today in Liverpool we have around 50 active members and have created a genuine, loving, supportive sisterhood. We meet monthly in our city centre and all of us value our time spent together.

Circle Whats the Story 20142

We live in a world created by and dominated by men, where women are not equal in decision making. Since I was a very young girl I’ve noticed this imbalance; in my school life, my home life, in the media, in the working world… I always wanted to be of service in the rebalancing even from a very early age. Until I learned of Gather the Women I didn’t have the appropriate medium, that suited me and who I am, of taking part in this rebalancing. I knew from my own observations as a child and adult that the media representation of women is that they are not leaders, they don’t make decisions or choices that affect others on a local, national or global level. Why? Because from when all women are little girls their minds are imprinted with images of men in power, men calling the shots, men in control, women being submissive, women being praised for looks over all other qualities, women having to fit in to a structural system taking a long time to change. I realised that girls were growing into women having a deep feeling of dis-entitlement whether they recognised this or not.

So why Gather the Women?

For me, it means real change. We can tell women and men until we’re blue in the face that they are equal but what use is telling someone something if they don’t internalise it and discover from it? Real change and transformation, real wisdom, happens within a person, they must reach that realisation on their own. What I instinctively knew about circle (even when I didn’t know anything about it!) was that through coming together in circle women would learn about themselves, find their voices, be truly heard (sometimes for the first time), forge a sisterhood, dissolve competition with each other, feel compassion for others and hear what other women have to say… She would transform herself, her conditioning, her beliefs, come to KNOW she is ENTITLED and at the same time gaining a sisterhood and nourishing support system along the way.

Circle is a beautiful and safe space where each woman can explore the totality of who she really is… She is not just feminine nor just masculine, we come from beyond a duality… in circle we can be angry, protective, sexual, strong, rebellious, open, soft, emotional, quiet, sensitive… We can be who we really are, beyond the stereotyping of female and male, because that’s our authenticity.

Circle Shame
Ultimately, we must reach balance within ourselves before the world is rebalanced.

Setting a safe, still space in circle is important to me; when women walk into the room I want their hearts to feel held. I wish for every woman in my circle to feel that she’s sitting on her mama’s lap having her hair stroked and being given undivided, unconditionally loved attention… that it’s okay to be honest, okay to cry, okay to laugh, okay to say nothing. I pay attention to the atmosphere of the room and how it feels and looks… creating beautiful circle centres (sometimes hugely elaborate ones!) and ensuring the space looks and feels calm and relaxed.

When I first paid attention to the look and feel of the room, women walked into the room and gasped. Some contacted me afterwards to say as soon as she walked into the room she felt held and safe and I began to consider that how the circle looks can have instant impact before people have even sat down. This combined with my many years of serious meditation and working on increasing my self-awareness, dissolving knots and troubles deep within me, has led to ever deepening self-knowing, expanding my heart and allowing me to act from a place of true service and compassion. I bring this to every circle… I spend time in the room alone before circle begins, asking that each woman feels heard, held, connected and loved. That’s my only intention with the circles I facilitate.

It is such an honour to hear women’s journeys, stories, truth… I am inspired by each woman who attends our circle, by her courage, her honesty, her capacity to love. I’m blessed, so very blessed, to know these sparkling women!

Only when women know the fullness of themselves will men know the fullness of themselves also. That will be the time when we bloom into our full potential as human beings. Through circle, women can come to be aware of her conditioning, release her conditioning and discover the fullness of who she really is.

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Deb Convener

Deborah Zaher is the Regional Coordinator for Liverpool, UK as well as the Communications Convener (our Conveners are our Board of Directors).

“I’m the one tweeting and updating the website and Facebook! My aim with the role of Communications Convener is to really bind our global sisterhood together and I enjoy coming up with creative ways as to how to do this! A few years ago, circles around the world each created a patch that was lovingly sewn into a sisters quilt and most recently I’m asking Regional Coordinators one at a time to shine the light on her circle in an article on our website blog so we can discover more about our sisters around the world… My goal with this is to see all of these articles combined into one big gorgeous book of Gather the Women amazingness!”

Gather the Women has been gathering women all around the globe since 2001 when Carol Hansen Grey had experienced numerous women contacting her describing the same vision that we needed to begin to gather the women of the world. Though these women came from diverse backgrounds, all shared a deep passion for awakening the power of women in service of a better world. Since then, Gather the Women has continued to expand, drawing new individuals, Regional Coordinators, and partner organisations into the matrix. We now have Regional Coordinators spread around the world, each Coordinator gathering local women into circle.

Gather the Women website: www.gatherthewomen.org

Gather the Women Global Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/Gatheringthewomen

Gather the Women Liverpool Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/gatherthewomenliverpool