Photo: Lisa Chapman (c). @primalembrace

Womxn's Circles

Down to earth, real talk circles where you can show up as you are

A space to connect to yourself and others

A Reclamation of community

What is a Womxn's Circle?

A womxn's circle is simple - it's a space where we can just be. A place to rest, breathe, connect, feel and move. A place where you are always welcome as you are. A place to be seen and heard in a world where womxn have been taught to be seen and not heard.

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 womxn in circle.

In a womxn's circle we can show up exactly as we are. In a world of predictability and restraint here we are reminded of our innate cyclical and feeling natures and are invited to explore a life lived at an intuitive pace.

Come and join us?! 

I host regular online and in person circles and private circles for Patrons only.

Carly x 
 

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Photo: Lisa Chapman (c). @primalembrace

Inclusivity 

Explorations of the Feminine are inherently inclusive and as such these circles are open to all who identify as womxn including trans, non-binary or any other expression or identification of femininity. 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 womxn 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 & Diversity page for more detail and to read my commitments. An ever growing and constantly changing piece of work.

Inclusivity policy

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

 
Women's circle flower crowns

Photo: Lisa Chapman (c). @primalembrace

Principles
 

The most powerful circles are made up of womxn 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 womxn's 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.

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 we start to create a more accessible and welcoming space for all.

One of our many gifts as womxn is 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 womxn's 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 others and celebrating others to connect.

 

Another of our gifts as womxn is our 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.

 

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.

 

Rainforest 

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 womxn's circle offerings means that there's something for everyone and I trust that everyone will find their place and their people. 

Truth 

Life has taught us that some subjects are off limits and that certain emotions are not welcome.

 

Womxn'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 womxn 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.

  

 
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Photo: Lisa Chapman (c). @primalembrace

How Womxn's Circles Changed My Life

Womxn’s Circles have transformed my life and the lives of many before me and I see them continue to transform the lives of womxn 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! Womxn's circles help me connect into how I am feeling, remind me how important it is to feel fully and offer the space to welcome and express challenging emotions. 

 

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 safely held circle of womxn I am able to put down the burden of suffering and step into my true nature. 


If you feel the call please join us.

Carly x ​

 
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Photo: Lisa Chapman (c). @primalembrace

Womxn's 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

 
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Photo: Lisa Chapman (c). @primalembrace

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

 

  • Time ~ endeavour to keep the time and duration of your share in mind to ensure each woman has equal opportunity to speak

 

  • Holding space ~ we all hold space for each other with total presence without need to respond, 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 woman 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 woman has shared but it can be hurtful and harmful to give advice or make comments

 

  • Direct personal experience ~ in circle we share only from direct personal experience as to speak generally is to make assumptions, 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 woman 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 woman 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 if wanted or needed
     

  • 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 has been compiled over years of running circles but for sure there will always be more to add and as such I am always open to suggestion and input. Hit me up.

Carly x 

 

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