Women’s circles unpacked
Whoa-man! The feminine energy is rising! And in few spaces can you witness and absorb it quite like in a women’s circle. These gatherings, although an ancient tradition, are rising in popularity. They are a space where women can celebrate their femininity, voice their struggles and their fears, and discuss what it is like to move through this world in this time. Here we can meet to share and grow and heal until mascara runs down our cheeks from tears of grief… and joy. Here we can just be.
Since ancient times, the circle has been a symbol of the sun, Mother Earth, and female power. It also represents a goddess, as well as being complete and whole.
During a ritual, a circle encloses and sets boundaries for a sacred space. There is no hierarchy; every person contributes to the circle as an equal. Titles and designations are left outside, and participants show up wholly authentic and present.
What makes a women’s circle different from other women’s gatherings?
A women’s circle is a sacred ritual. It is a space where you can share, listen, and learn without judgement. In a circle, everyone is equal. It becomes a safe space where you can share and talk about the things that come from your soul.
A women’s circle is a space where you can be vulnerable and share your deepest fears, longings, and hopes.
There is no advice given, no suggestions, or attempts to fix another or rescue her from what she is moving through during a women’s circle. We simply gather to witness, to hear, to hold space.
The history of women’s circles
Women have gathered in circles since ancient times. They came together to cook and share stories, learn, pass down wisdom, and support each other.
The Red Tent and Moon Lodges were sacred spaces where women could rest and heal while menstruating. In the 1400s women healers and spiritual leaders started being prosecuted, and women’s circles dwindled.
Today the awareness of the feminine is rising, and women are seeking out the community that these circles offer. We are coming back to the age-old traditions that have been bringing us together in the past. We are starting to celebrate many of the things that we have been suppressing and hiding in the recent past.
What can you expect during a women’s circle?
A women’s circle asks you to show up in all of your authenticity. That means in all your raw vulnerability, in all your strength, in all your fear, in all your joy. It asks you to show up and be there. Present.
It is a space where we lift each other up, where we hold each other safe, where we get to tap into our naturally gifted intuition and knowing. It allows us to follow our internal nudges to find what we need to heal, and grow, and expand.
A women’s circle is not there to fix you; rather, it gives you the medicine that your heart and soul need – without you knowing it.
There might be discomfort, there might be crying, there might be long moments of silence and absorbing. There could also be laughing and singing and dancing. You could experience only one of these things, or you could experience all of them. Most importantly, they will be experienced in a safe space where there is no judgment.
The practices and rituals differ from circle to circle and could include yoga and meditation, shamanic practices, or discussions from healers or experts.
The benefits of a women’s circle
When a person experiences stress, the body releases cortisol. This hormone makes men more aggressive, while it cultivates the need for connection in women. Participating in the supportive environment of a women’s circle releases oxytocin – also called the Love Hormone. Oxytocin is also the hormone that is released during and after childbirth that encourages maternal bonding.
Women’s circles create a feeling of community. They allow you to open up about issues that you are dealing with while learning about others’ experiences.
By participating in a women’s circle, you tap into the wisdom passed down through the other women’s lineages while sharing your own.
How to hold your own women’s circle
Choose the date carefully.
A women’s circle should be held with intention. That includes the date that you choose to hold it. Select a date that has meaning to you and the women that are gathering with you.
A popular time for women’s circles is around the full moon. During this time, the earth is infused with feminine energy. The full moon is a wonderful time to let go of anything that no longer serves you. During the new moon, we invite new energies into our lives. It is a time for new beginnings, and women’s circles held during this time often focus on that.
Other times to hold a women’s circle includes the changes of the seasons, the equinox, and solstices.
Women’s circles can also be powerful ways to celebrate important life events like a young lady entering womanhood, or a woman entering menopause. Recent times have also seen a rise in Mommy Blessing ceremonies for expectant mothers.
Create a safe space
Choose a location that is quiet and calm, where you will not be interrupted. You can play music or chants and use incense or essential oils. Light candles and use fabrics and cushions with luxurious textures. Invite the women to sit on the ground if possible and practical – to allow them direct contact with the earth.
Make the space sacred
You can do this in many ways, like making a fire at the centre of the circle and including an altar in the space. You can invite the women to place special objects on the altar like crystals, jewellery, card decks, or flowers – anything that is important to them.
While everyone is gathered, you can smudge the space and each woman, or ask every person to smudge the woman next to her. This starts off the ceremony and instantly creates the feeling of nurturing and community.
Set an intention
Like other rituals, women’s circles should be led with intention, and that intention should be woven throughout the event. Through setting an intention, there is a united focus of energy. It sets the direction for the circle while allowing for messages to flow spontaneously. Intentions can focus on something that the women want to cultivate like self-love or acceptance. It could also focus on letting go – this is especially powerful during the full moon. Other intentions could include forgiveness, gratitude, bliss, or joy.
Women’s circles do not have a leader; rather, there is a facilitator that gently guides the flow. You could act as the facilitator, or invite someone to do this for you. By opening this up to others, you allow a different energy to flow through the event. You could also ask an expert or teacher into your space that could guide the participants through a yoga session, into deep meditation, or through some laughing sessions or dancing.
Other additions to a circle
A women’s circle is a time of digging deep into all facets of yourself. You might like to include other rituals like cacao ceremonies in your circle time, to help deepen the journey down the spiritual path. As alcohol often reduces our connection with ourselves, it is not recommended that you include this in your women’s circle.
Set time aside for each woman to speak about her experience of the circle. Allow them to speak about what came up for them and whether they have received any messages. During this time, deep healing and guidance are absorbed, shared and reinforced. Here is where the medicine takes effect. This is perhaps the most sensitive time of the evening and should be held with gentleness and understanding.
Open and close the circle
There are different ways to open and close the circle. Allow your intuition to guide you with this. Some choose to call to the four corners, higher selves, or guides, while others open and close the circle with chanting mantras or simply chanting ‘Om’.
During women’s circles, we not only share wisdom and heal ourselves, but we also focus on changing the vibration that is running through the collective by infusing that vibration in those gathered together. We transmute the energies that no longer serve us and amplify the energies and vibrations that heal and uplift. Through doing that inside ourselves, we change the energies and vibrations of those around us.
We celebrate our feminine energy and the power of creation that lies within us. We allow ourselves time and space to heal and inspire and to cultivate a deeper awareness within ourselves and each other. The circle unites us, the circle enfolds us, the circle provides us with the fire that is needed to create the phoenix while it holds the ashes from which we rise. Here we can be broken. Here we can be hurt and vulnerable. Here we are held. Here we can heal.