For years, I’ve led women’s workshops on a variety of topics from goddess cultures to the Burning Times to the Divine Feminine in modern culture. While I’m the one planning & preparing the workshops, I humbly admit that they are made rich & provocative by the intelligent, interesting women who attend. At first, I used curricula designed by others such as Cakes for the Queen of Heaven 1 & 2 by Rev. Shirley Ranck and Rise Up & Call Her Name by Liz Fisher but when I could no longer find packaged programs, I created a 12-month program based loosely on the pagan Wheel of the Year & how the changes in nature mirror the changes in ourselves. It connected us to the past, each other, & our Highest Selves.
As that year draws to a close, members of the group began asking “What’s next?”
“What do you want?”, I asked.
“More!” was the overwhelming response so I set to work looking for new inspiration & very quickly found “Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent“, Dr. Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost’s documentary inspired by The Red Tent, Anita Diamant’s New York Times Bestselling book. I loved the book & couldn’t wait to view the movie. It exceeded my expectations.
The summary on the back of the DVD says “…A Red Tent is a red textile space where women gather to rest, renew, & often share deep & powerful stories about their lives. The Red Tent movement is changing the way that women interact & support each other by providing a place that honors & celebrates women, & by enabling open conversations about the things that women don’t want to talk about in other venues.” THIS SOUNDS PERFECT FOR US.
We hosted a movie night/potluck dinner for women of any age interested in the idea of a sacred space where women could connect. I wasn’t deliberately recruiting new members to the group but I was curious to see what kind of interest was “out there”. One woman brought her elderly mother, another brought her teenage daughter, & yet another brought her sister. This was better than I could have hoped. After the movie I said, “Anyone have any thoughts they’d like to share?’
Almost unanimously & in unison, they said, “When do we start our own?” I laughed & got excited about the possibility.
All over the world & most definitely in neighborhoods around this country, women are yearning for deeper connections & taking it upon themselves to form groups such as the Red Tent Temple movement started by Alisa Starkweather (co-producer of the movie). My Women’s Spirit Circle also came out of a desire to care for ourselves as we care for one another, honoring every stage of our lives from girl to crone.
Red Tents are places where we can explore any topic including sexuality, the decision to have children or not have children, menopause, aging, relationships, & our first periods. Nothing is taboo. In the tent, we can give each other massages, perform Reiki & reflexology, create art, sleep, write in journals, share, laugh, cry, drum, dance, chant, meditate, talk, listen, & most importantly- hold sacred space where we can be our authentic selves.
As I learn more about the movement & consider a way to make it a reality where I live, I readily admit I don’t know where the idea will go from here. All I know is that I want to make it a reality & let it take on a life of it’s own. What’s meant to be will be.