Spinning In Circles

So, hands up - who has ever heard of a red tent? I hadn't until about 4 years ago when they were explained to me at a workshop in Glastonbury by the lovely Michelle the priestess who was nurturing us in her Goddess workshops. For those who are wondering, like I did why the colour of your camping gear really matters, a red tent is a gathering for women to talk, listen and share at a particular time in the lunar cycle, either at the new or the full moon. 

Goddess relief bathed in red light at Knole's Orangery
This movement has grown over the last twenty years or so years, increasingly popular since the novel the of the same name The Red Tent was written by Anita Diamant (Well worth a read) which has recently been televised in a mini series.
These red tents have taken their name from the menstruation huts or moon lodges that women gathered in away from the rest of the tribe in early and primitive societies whilst they were bleeding. I have to say that this did stir thoughts of oppression in my head, that the women were somehow considered unclean and shunned by being made to leave the comfort and maybe safety of their homes, but the thought that these red tents became rich sacred spaces where love and wisdom was shared by generations of women weaving a rich tapestry of words and song, passing down women's mysteries through their matriarchal line pervaded and I didn't think much more about it.

People have been mentioning Red Tents to me again lately, then the tv series was advertised whilst I was watching something else, bit of a nudge from Goddess? I remember Michelle telling me that I'd be good at hosting a red tent, me laughing saying what because I'm bossy and talk too much? Then I thought about it and decided yes I am friendly and talk to everyone and yes I am good at organising things...why not? There is one in existence locally, I even joined up several years ago and have never gone, never felt the pull to it, absolutely nothing against the ladies there but instinct was telling me to create my own Goddessy/Witchy/Pagan circle - all that zingy energy flying around at Imbolc that made me do it! So I did it, I tentatively asked ladies in my local Maidstone Pagans group, that by chance or more likely some Godessy design I have ended up running as least as the admin of the group, organising the moots and arranging stuff - told you I was a bossy boots! Anyway I was delighted to be mobbed with interest, women saying 'yes this is exactly what I need', 'I love this idea' and more importantly when and where??

Honour The Goddess Within

Then it nearly all crunched to a halt, my friend Richard who I had been discussing Red Tents and a more recent movement  White Tents for men (- their name taken to represent semen as their source of fertility in case you were wondering, I did!) messaged me to say he'd found some articles to suggest that this was still enforced in some parts of the world, where women were forced to inhabit menstruation huts in absolute squalor whilst they are bleeding even resulting in deaths from cold and infection. Horrified I did some research and sure enough he was right. I knew in my heart of hearts that this would have been the origin, that women would have been shunned for their very womanliness, but this was the stark reality and was still happening now, could I wholeheartedly create and support something that had it's roots here? Was it making a mockery of what we all believed?
As luck - sorry I mean the Goddess would have it, over the next couple of days I was using up a few days annual leave and had planned to take some time to recharge, including doing a deep meditation, listening  to one of my favourite meditation CDs - Sacred Womb Sound Journey. As usual I soon drifted away on a trip deep within to the dreamtime, even himself will agree with this, he'll kill me for telling you but he's done this with me a couple of times and fallen asleep!

Sure enough I came to dribbling a long while later with a snort, a couple of cats in situ taking advantage of my warm stillness. Stretching and trying to catch fragments of my dream journey, I was still unsure quite how I felt about the whole red tent idea but I felt lighter. Washing up later, (of all the unGoddessy activities I could be doing) it hit me with a start that women had created these beautiful circles out of a fused sense of shame, sorrow and oppression, that rather than be bowed or broken they had turned the very abuse they suffered into an opportunity to share wisdom and love, the support that they would have offered during these dark times shouldn't be wasted. It probably helped to set this clear in my mind as we approached the 100 year anniversary of Women getting the vote - we'd hardly not vote because of the treatment the Suffragettes suffered in their cause would we or because Emily Davison lost her life? No, exactly.We could even use our circles to raise awareness, campaign for the end of these abhorrent practices and involve ourselves in projects that support women across the world. 
So with that, I created a page for the interested ladies called it the Moon Circle and now we have a date booked at the next New Moon to gather here at my house...EEEK! To be honest I'm slightly concerned that I'm responsible for holding and facilitating it, what if no one comes? What if everyone comes? But hey ho I can chat a lot and am good at organising things.......

Have a Blessed Week x x

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