I’m sitting in a circle of women in a tent. I am new to town, know very few people, and am pregnant.
We are surrounded by cushions and rugs that each of us have brought or donated. There is a gas stove outside with a pot of chai brewing. There is a small, wooden table in the centre holding a burning candle and offerings of fresh flowers, leaves, and stones.
We go around the circle, each woman sharing a birthing story (their own, a birth they have attended, or the birth of their child). The level of intimacy created between us is something I have never experienced before.
It’s my turn to speak—I’m nervous, but speak from my heart.
I share my fear of losing another pregnancy and my fear of giving birth. I am not offered advice or platitudes; I am simply received and honoured as I am in that moment.
Inspired by Anita Diamant’s book, The Red Tent, there is a growing movement of women embracing the principles of sisterhood and creating spaces to retreat to and support each other.
In Diamant’s novel, the women take care of one-another in a hut, known as the “Red Tent,” while menstruating or giving birth. For this project, the women I sat with had spent months making and building their own red tent as a gift to the women in our town.
This is my first women’s circle.
In the following months, I became a mother and opened an organic cafe with my partner. We were navigating our way as business partners and parents—slowly starting to unravel from each other. The friendships that I had embraced whilst pregnant slipped away as my baby and business took priority.
I felt like I was failing at everything.
I felt stuck and alone—craving support and friendship. I remembered that first circle and the deep connection I was wrapped in.
From this, I found myself one Sunday afternoon sitting on the floor of our cafe with six slightly nervous women. I had moved the furniture and filled the space with rugs, throws, cushions, and candles to create a sacred den. I had hung curtains so passersby couldn’t see in, prepared food and gift bags, and invited a wise woman as a guest to share her wisdom—a written meditation and guided visualization.
That circle touched the hearts of every woman who came. Together, we awakened our feminine power of receiving, nurturing, and listening—we supported and celebrated each other.
Those first tentative steps led to me facilitating regular circles. The power of coming together in circle has taken me on a personal journey of self-discovery. I have witnessed the transformation that can take place for women in this sacred space; I have deepened my connection with myself, rediscovered my self-worth, and ignited my connection with spirit.
In circle, we share our true self—our dreams, our fears, longings, desires, frustrations, and our most personal stories. These are met with compassion, love, and acceptance. We feel seen, heard, and received—which sparks an internal evolution toward reclaiming our sense of worth.
In circle, we remember that much of our mistrust and alienation from our sisters stemmed from the witch hunts where it was safer for us to be separate and alone. We embrace our powers of perception and intuition—we awaken our Divine Feminine energy. We celebrate the Goddess in all her forms, and reclaim her presence in each of us.
When I answered the nudge to facilitate these circles, I recognized that I was responding to something ancient within me; I wanted to learn more. This brought me to Ricci-Jane Adams and her Institute for Intuitive Intelligence. I spent a year training as a priestess and intuitive guide, stepping fully into the role of “Sacred Circle Holder.”
As my soul’s path has been activated, my relationship with my partner has been rekindled. I have dear friends, I have started a new business, and I feel aligned with the deeper purpose of my life.
Women’s circles are taking place in every town and city; from living rooms to community halls, to consciously-built tents. A quick online search for “red tent,” “sacred circle,” or “women’s circle” will open up a whole world of ways to connect with women in your area coming together in circle. Maybe you are feeling the call to facilitate a circle for your friends or colleagues. Imagine a group of women sitting in circle in your living room, sharing their truths—being seen, heard, and accepted.
This is our time to link arms and rise together to co-create a movement of circles providing sacred space in which self-worth can flourish and we can relinquish the need for validation from others.
Author: Mitlé Southey
Image: Lauren Treece/Flickr
Editor: Danielle Beutell / Jen Schwartz
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Taia Butler