Red Tent Tips. Three. What do we do when we gather?
For 8 years women have come once a month to share food and a talking circle. Literally this is all we have ever done at the RTT I host. There are, however, myriad ways to add to this!
A Few Ideas:
>Talking circle. You use an object that one woman holds in her hand as she speaks. It could be a stone, a feather, a figurine, or any other small thing. The idea behind this symbol is that only the person holding it may speak aloud. This gives the speaker the floor without fear of having to hear advice, judgements, opinions, ideas, similar experiences, or losing the thread of her story in the weave of someone else’s story.
This is important, the silence of every other woman in the room. This is what creates the ability for women to share deeply.
It is also important to know that if a woman begins to cry or emote in any way that *no one is to touch her or interfere with her process in any way*. This rule may only be broken if she may harm herself or someone else. The end.
If we touch, talk over, opine, or otherwise interfere with another’s story, we often…almost always…shut it down. Our goal here is to create safe space and so we want to allow.
This is a good way and the perfect time for all attending a RTT to learn ‘active listening’, though without the part about repeating back what has been spoken. We should focus on the speaker, her words, her needs, her feelings. There is nothing for us to do or say, nothing required of us other than that we completely and fully witness her in that moment.
And we *never* repeat these words outside of our RTT circle. Never.
Use a timer. It is inevitable that some women will speak for 3 minutes and others will talk for 45 minutes. This is a good thing to establish quickly. I’ve been really lazy about it and this specific thing is the reason most often stated for why women do not return to my RTT. They simply cannot be fully present for so long. Allot time depending on how long you have divided by the number of women present. It’s easy and inoffensive and very democratic.
>The Story Chair–this is especially a wonderful idea if there is a good mix of older and young women at your RTT. This is really something getting to heart of what we’re doing–sharing our stories. Imagine how much you could learn from listening to an Elder share hers!
The Story Chair is also a place where you can share something such as a poem or myth about womanhood, as well as stories about your journey to and through womanhood. This is not only for Elders, there is a great deal of wisdom to be gained by listening to our youth.
>A Monthly Topic–invite a speaker to come and do a talk on anything your women are interested in hearing about. Things that spring to mind for me are education around White Supremacy Culture; Shadow Work; Eco-consciousness; Minimalism; Womb Wisdom; Sacred Self Care; Herbs for Women; Menstruation and products for using during your Moon Time; Belly Dance; Drumming and/or Singing; Essential Oils; there are so many options!
>Engage your women in a monthly ceremony. Many of us do Manifestation ceremonies on or near the New Moon. This is a great thing to add to your RTT.
>Share body work! You don’t need a massage table to exchange foot or hand massages. Anything as small or large as you and your group desire is an amazing way to give one another love and healing each month.
Play some soft music in the background of your gathering if you can and remember that this is Sacred Space for you and the women who gather. Hold one another as the Sacred vessels you are.
A Million Blessings ~Be~