Sacred Women's Circles
Sacred Women's Circles
Candles flicker in the centre of the room as we sit in circle, our breath slowing and circulating as we let go of our worries, let go of the expectations and roles we hold in the outside world, and sink into the space. I call in our ancestors - our mothers, our grandmothers, our great grandmothers - the women who paved the way, who are holding us and celebrating that we have chosen to come together today. With our palms placed at our heart centre, we each make a silent commitment to respect the confidentially of this circle, we agree we are not here to fix or rescue our fellow sisters, but simply to hold space for one another.
In ancient times, women's spaces were considered sacred. A time when women could come together to share stories, connect with the cycles of nature and their bodies, and partake in ritual and rite of passage. In our modern times we have lost this connection, so it's no wonder many of us - as women, mothers, sisters, daughters - feel alone.
Don't get me wrong, coffee catch ups and cocktails have their place, and social media allows us to share and stay in touch. But I'm talking about sacred spaces set aside for us to lay down our worries and our masks, spaces where we feel safe to let go and reveal our true selves, to share our truth with other women without fear or judgment or guilt, and to remember that as women, we were never meant to walk this journey alone. We were never meant to be separate, in competition and judgment with each other, we were never meant to be left to figure it out on our own, always fearing that everyone has it all together, but us.
I believe the rise of women's circles around the world are in response to this disconnection. Disconnection from each other, from the cycles of nature, and from our true selves.
So what is a women's circle?
It's exactly what it sounds like. A group of women coming together to share space, share stories, and support one another. Ideally it's a regular practice, perhaps once a month. You might even align it with a significant event like a new moon. It can be formal or informal, you can have planned activities or you simply sit and see what comes up. It should be a nurturing, non judgmental space where women can feel safe to be seen and heard.
I host monthly women's circles with my amazing sister @Spirit Seeker Coaching, and the below is based on our experiences holding space for our treasured group. I have also been privileged to sit in circle with other powerful women and teachers around the world, and have always found these experiences to be transformational. It's true what they say, when women come together in circle, magic happens.
How to host a women's circle
The best part about hosting a women's circle is that you don't need any qualifications and it can be as simple and as extravagant as you want. Below are some tips on how to host a successful women's circle in your area.
You'll need a space. We like to hire a cosy heritage hall we can transform with a few candles and crystals. It's not perfect, every now and again we hear a freight train or the guards calling a train service next door, but it has a beautiful feel and works for what we need. A yoga studio, meeting room or living room is just as effective. It's not about the actual space but what you do to make it safe and nurturing that counts. You want it to be private, no phones or TV distractions. I clear our space with energetic spray and palo santo, turn down the lights and use candles, crystals and flowers to set the right mood - but none of this is necessary.
We found when we put the idea out there, backed with the simple intention to bring women together to create community, the women who were meant to be there showed up. We have regulars, we have new comers, and each time it's exactly the right group of people.
Numbers don't matter too much, two to three women is great, we usually have up to 12. All ages, sizes, backgrounds, life stages and experiences. The more the merrier. We advertise on social media, but also find good friends and work colleagues love to show up.
We have some simple rituals for the group to help move us from simply 'catching up' into a sacred circle. Aside from energetically clearing the space, we always start by closing our eyes and taking some deep breaths, letting go of our worries and any feelings or experiences from the day that don't serve us. We acknowledge our ancestors, we acknowledge our sisters, and we make a silent commitment to respect the sacredness of the circle by holding space for our fellow sisters, keeping all sharing confidential and free of judgment, and giving everyone their turn to speak without trying to fix each other or offer solutions. We close the circle in a similar way, with deep breaths, sending ourselves and our sisters deep gratitude for showing up.
We have also made tea and nurturing snacks part of our ritual. Towards the end of our time together, we drink tea and share in a grounding treat, usually a homemade cake, loaf or cookies. You might choose to supply this, take turns baking, or encourage everyone to bring a plate. We just try and keep it healthy, delicious and high vibe.
This is the fun part, and it's completely up to you. We always like to feel into a topic for the month, something that's impacting our own lives or those around us. We've covered winter, self care, self acceptance, love and worthiness...the list of things you could cover is endless. We choose something that reflects our shared experience as women. If you're holding your women's circle on the new moon, you may like to theme it around the energies of that particular cycle.
We usually start with our opening ritual, then we will talk through the month's topic - introducing ourselves and discussing how this topic manifests in our life. The circle and sharing usually takes a life of its own at this stage and we start to remember that as women we are in this journey together, and we wonder again why we forgot.
As a yoga teacher, I always add an element of yoga or movement to the circle, as I believe this is a great way to clear our energies, feel our way through a topic and anchor any teachings in our body. It's also a sure fire way to help everybody drop-in. We follow this movement with meditation, simple breathing or a guided experience.
We close with tea, snacks and a sharing about what we've experienced in the circle and how we might take some of the discussions and learnings from our time together back into the real world.
From time to time we include other activities such as art, vision boarding, journaling, oracle card readings, dancing, even singing and chanting. Sometimes this is planned, sometimes we are guided intuitively about what the group needs.
We always float out of the room with full hearts, happy tummies and a deep remembering of the magic that occurs when women come together in all their vulnerability, beauty, truth and power.
While my sister and I host our women's circles, they can be just as effective when a group of women decide to come together and take turns hosting, or simply come together and see what happens. There are no rules, no right or wrong ways to host or lead a circle. If the intent is there, if you're coming from a place of love and community, I promise you your event will be a success. Just remember that if you are hosting, holding space can be quite exhausting if you're not feeling anchored. Practice mutuality, and take good care of yourself before and after your event.
Want to know more?
I would love you to join our women's circle, held monthly in Thirroul (1 hour south of Sydney). There are also more events and retreats coming up in Sydney. The best way to stay in touch and learn more is via social media.Instagram - @luum_yoga_balance
Facebook - @luumbalance
I can also recommend some wonderful books on women's circles.
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
Rise Sister Rise - Rebecca Campbell
Warrior Goddess Training - Heather Ash Asmara
I encourage you to reach out and find your sisters. We're all 'busy' but I encourage you to set aside the time to lay down your mask, lay down the idea we have to be separate, that we have to do any of this on our own. Now more than ever we need to come together, to support each other, to hear each other and lift each other up. My hope is that by finding your way to your fellow women, you will find your way back to the cycles of natures and most importantly, back to yourself.
Images: Women's Circle @luum_yoga_balance
Tea Temple Women's Circle @spiritweavers