The circles I hold are a space where you are invited to show up exactly as you are. A space to reconnect to your feeling nature, to find your place in the village and to rewild your heart.
In a world of predictability and restraint, isolation and constraint in circle, we are reminded of our elemental, cyclical and feeling natures and are invited to explore a life untamed.
A life where we are woven back into the tapestry of community and inextricably sewn into the fabric of life on Earth.
What is a Women's Circle?
A space where you can show up exactly as you are
A place to connect and share with others
A place where you are always welcome exactly as you are
A place to be seen and heard in a world where women have been taught to be seen and not heard
A place where we’re working to upturn the dominant cultural narratives that perpetuate abuse, discrimination and repression
A place where we’re remembering and reigniting the wisdom of our ancestors whilst also redefining and updating what it means to be a woman
That’s just some of what a circle means to me but it’s not easily translated into words, the best way to discover the magic is to come along and discover what it means to you!
As we retreat to the Moon Lodge, a tradition as old as time, something in us shifts and there is no doubting the tangible power of women in circle.
Come and join us?!
I host regular online and in person circles for my Patreons.
The most powerful circles are made up of women doing the work.
We have been conditioned for years to compete with each other, bitch about each other and call each other out and the circle is an invitation to leave all of that behind and instead learn to elevate each other, celebrate each other and call each other in.
It feels important to me, particularly as a white woman in these spaces, to honour and give thanks to the varied and diverse cultural lineage of the women's circle.
I do not take lightly the responsibility of carrying this tradition forwards and do my best to honour the many communities that have continued to honour women's spaces through time.
'White supremacy, a powerful idea, in operation around the world, erases other cultural practices in multiple different ways. For us Red Tents [another word for women's circles] are part of how we can build alternative cultural practices that can help us to address these things and in doing so to acknowledge that nothing is really new. We are aware that in many Indigenous cultures, women have held on to traditions that have helped them support one another and themselves in ways that most women in the white British culture we know best largely have not. And so, in creating Red Tent spaces we may be calling back to traditions our ancestors had but which we, as white women, can no longer remember clearly. Meanwhile, we may deliberately or inadvertently be borrowing from cultures that have preserved women's traditions in ways that constitute cultural appropriation - where we take a practice as our own without acknowledgement or accountability.'
~ Red Tent, Mary Ann Clements & Aisha Hannibal
Here are the principles of our circles:
Do the Work
When we are committed to meeting our shadows with love and acceptance we are more likely to do the same for others and this creates deep unshakable bonds and feelings of being welcome.
When we are committed to being actively anti-racist and to unearthing our unconscious biases, understanding our privilege, seeing our blindspots, learning about the perspectives of others and educating ourselves we start to create the foundations of a welcoming space for all.
One of our many gifts is that of our lioness like ability to love fiercely and deeply and to protect the ones we love and to expand this capacity to our wider human and animal community makes the world a safer and more inclusive space for all.
Radical Acceptance of Self and Others
In circle others hold up a mirror to us so that we see that all we admire in others is already with in us and that often the things that challenge us most in others are the things that we find most challenging about ourselves and have suppressed, rejected and hidden away (sometimes people are just harmful though of course).
A circle is a space to meet yourself and others in wholeness as integrated human beings in all of our darkness and our light and everything in between.
Elevate and Celebrate
The direct opposite of our cultural narrative of stepping on others to succeed is elevating and celebrating others to connect.
We have an innate capacity to see the beauty and abundance all around us and when we broaden this to include one another we nurture neural pathways of joy, gratitude and upliftment.
There's nothing quite as powerful as a group of women who have joined forces and made a commitment to meet their shadows, unpick their conditioning and lift each other up
These circles are spaces of elevation and celebration from which I hope you will leave feeling seen, held, support, uplifted and crowned in your rightful queendom.
One of the barriers to celebration and elevation can be the limiting belief that we must compete to thrive.
Many of us have been raised to believe there are finite resources and that to survive and thrive is to compete and sure there are definitely finite resources, the planet is not a bottomless pit of giving but to shift to an abundance mindset is to shift from competing to cooperating and draws us away from separation and individualism into community and connection.
I often hear people speak of the market being saturated in various areas but I just don't believe it.
In the rainforest there is such fierce competition for resources that the creatures and plants have to diversify to survive and I feel like here in Milton Keynes we have a beautiful rainforest of offerings. The huge number of yoga, meditation and circle offerings means that there's something for everyone and I trust that everyone will find their place and their people.
Life has taught us that some subjects are off limits and that certain emotions are not welcome.
Women's circles are an invitation to undo this conditioning and offer a space to practice showing up as we are whether grieving, raging, exhausted, quiet, overwhelmed, afraid, wracked with guilt, full of shame or so anxious we can barely speak.
Whatever you are feeling I can assure you you are not alone.
In all my years of facilitating circles every time a woman shares their deepest darkest secrets full of fear and insecurity, other women in that space share parts of their story too and feel so seen and full of deep relief.
Anything and everything you wish to share in circle is welcome, there are absolutely no taboo subjects. This includes: periods, menopause, abortion, sexual violence, domestic violence, anger, drug use and anything else that society has deemed unacceptable.
Explorations of the Feminine are inherently inclusive and as such these circles are open to all who identify as women including our trans community, any other expression or identification of Femininity and non-binary people. These circles value diversity of expression, experience and perspectives.
Open to all ages, life stages and cycle phases, including babies and young children (with adults).
I feel very strongly that this is something that all women should have access to, so these circles will always be by donation and donating is not a prerequisite for joining.
Please head to my Inclusivity page for more detail and to read my commitments. An ever growing and constantly changing piece of work.
Read Rachel Rice's blog: White lady sisterhood needs to evolve
'A circle of women may just be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get Naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love gentle. You will be changed. The very fabric of your being will be altered by this, if you allow it. Please, please allow it.'
~ Jeanette LeBlanc
How Circles Changed My Life
Circles have transformed my life and the lives of many before me and I see them continue to transform the lives of women over and over.
I remember being completely terrified the first time I sat in circle, I had no idea what to expect, I was terrified of speaking in a group and had always had tricky relationships with groups of women (girl gang school vibes) but it was completely transformative and healing in ways I could never have anticipated and changed the course of my life's work completely.
I am not a natural feeler. I have always run from challenging emotions given half a chance and if left unchecked still catch myself trying to!
Circles helped me connect to my emotions, reminded me how important it is to feel fully and offered the space for my stories to be heard, held and transformed.
In these spaces I am able to show up unfiltered, untamed and in the complete truth of who I am in each and every moment.
In these spaces I often see parts of my story in the stories of others and in doing so feel understood, heard and held.
In a securely held circle of women I am able to put down the burden of suffering and step into my true nature.
If you feel the call please join us.
Circles & Trauma
There has been a surge of interest, information and offerings for trauma healing of late and in doing my own research I discovered many, many crossovers between trauma healing work and the work we do in women’s circles and on women’s retreats.
As more of this work comes to the fore it becomes clear that almost every human on the planet is living with the impact of trauma to a lesser or greater degree and often this is how we find our way to this work. We sometimes joke that we could call these circles ‘Mummy/Daddy Issues Circles’.
So I thought it would be really useful to list out these crossovers as often women’s circles can sound inaccessible and perhaps a bit new-age and too esoteric for some, so I want to share how practically useful this work can be too.
Isolating is a typical response to trauma but the trauma often occurred in relationship and so must by its very nature be healed in relationship – women’s circles offer a safe space to explore social engagement and reconnecting to others at your own pace
Being given space to share can allow connection to self and others and deeper insights can be come possible through this connection
Self expression and self exploration are incredibly healing for those dealing with trauma
Sharing without input, advice or comment is the cornerstone of a women’s circle and this capacity to share without anyone steering the conversation can support self exploration and deeper insights
Holding each other and being held in unconditional positive regard can be incredibly healing and is the method many therapists use with their clients
Facing emotions in a safely held space with equanimity can help to broaden and expand our window of tolerance and integrate trauma
Rhythmic reciprocity such as singing, chanting, clapping, drumming or moving in sync can be deeply healing for trauma survivors, anything that creates a sense of group rhythm can be healing.
Somatic mindfulness helps to support emotional healing and awareness of the body; we use this technique during sharing as we hold space for each other
Feeling what another is feeling through the mirror neurons in the brain helps us to feel which can be deeply healing for anyone who has shut down from their emotions
Self touch of some kind such as placing hands on the body for example on the heart and/or belly can be soothing for the nervous system and is invited at the start and end of our circles
Joy and laughter ~ to quote my soul sister Cherry, we are sincere but never serious. There is always a huge bucket load of belly laughs in our circles and we fully invite it in, there is nothing more soothing and safety inducing than a good laugh
Nervous system support ~ as well as our sharing circles we always incorporate breath work, movement practices, sound work and explorations of relaxation and rest through savasana, restorative yoga and yoga nidra to work to restore and replenish dysregulated nervous systems
Speaking in Circle Guidance
Talking egg ~ holding the egg is your invitation to share but know that there is never any pressure to speak and that you can always pass.
Equalising space ~ endeavour to keep the time and duration of your share in mind to ensure each person has equal opportunity to speak.
Holding space ~ we all hold space for each other with total presence without response, advise or comment.
Sharing from the heart ~ you don't need to share a perfectly pre-planned speech, you don't need to be articulate or have ordered thoughts, this is a space to share unfiltered, uncut and unedited. So if you can, try not to plan what you're going to say and instead stay present to each woman and trust that if you need to share it will come.
Somatic mindfulness while listening ~ a tool for emotional growth and healing which simply involves observing your experience and the response from your body and mind as others share.
Unconditional positive regard ~ holding each person with unconditional positive regard without judgement. Listening and sharing with an attitude of openness and a willingness to learn and grow together.
Cross sharing ~ it is totally fine to express that you resonate with what another has shared but it can be hurtful and harmful to reference what they have said when you are sharing, give advice or make comments.
Direct personal experience ~ share only from direct personal experience using 'I' as to speak generally using 'we' or 'us' is to make assumptions and we can only ever be our best authority on ourselves.
Confidentiality ~ by attending a circle you agree to total confidentiality around everything shared which includes not speaking to a person post-circle about what was shared unless explicit permission has been given.
Comforting ~ in daily life we often comfort emotions away but in circle we offer the space for each person to drop fully into their emotions without being comforted. It is important to develop the capacity to feel fully and self soothe. After the circle of course feel free to offer support but only if wanted or needed. Always ask.
Crying ~ please don't apologise for crying! Let's normalise a full spectrum of emotions.
Window of tolerance ~ it is important to respect your window of tolerance and if at any point you need to move, leave the room or take a break you are absolutely in charge of your own experience and can always choose to take care of yourself.
No taboos ~ anything you wish to share in circle is welcome, there are absolutely no taboo subjects, this is a space to speak honestly and openly if you feel to.
After care ~ we do our best to incorporate practices before and after the circle that are designed to help soothe the nervous system, release stress and reconnect to the body. It is important to honour your need for rest, emotional release and space after a circle. Please reach out for support.
And to quote a good friend of mine 'you're a human not a board meeting'.
I think often there is a strong focus on improvement and self-work but it can be heavy going and life is also about enjoyment and pleasure so know that you do not always need to bring your heavy stuff, you can also bring your celebrations and joy.
These spaces are for us to show up as we are and truly sometimes that is dark but sometimes that is light and sometimes it's somewhere grey in between.
You are welcome here as you are always.
This list might seem long but it is here to create the boundaries needed when sharing this honestly and openly. It has been compiled over years of running circles based on experiences that have arisen but for sure there will always be more to add and as such I am always open to suggestion and input. Hit me up.