by Jayleigh Lewis
Women gathered to create Red Tent spaces in two locations in Colorado on July 20th and 21st 2013, hosting screenings of the Red Tent movie Things We Don’t Talk About as well as Q&A sessions with Isadora, the filmmaker.
The Red Tent community in Boulder transformed a yoga studio into sacred space for the Colorado Premiere. In this progressive college town in the foothills of the Rockies, they transformed the space using floor red coverings and Christmas lights and the women and the men shared great conversation and stories after the movie. Elena and Aditi, co-hosts of Boulder’s monthly Red Tent (which for a time was one of the only permanent Red Tents in the country, a dedicated space rather than one created and dismantled at every gathering), each spoke from personal experience about spaces that honor the feminine.
Elena spoke about what it was like to bring Red Tent space to a local women’s domestic abuse shelter. The women there mostly spoke Spanish; Elena’s words to them were translated by the woman in charge of the shelter. The women shared with Elena that having the Red Tent brought to them, through words spoken in their own language, helped them to feel safe.
Aditi had just returned from a trip to India, where she had participated in a festival honoring the menstruating goddess. This annual festival, called Ambubachi Mela, takes place in a temple in Assam and includes a period of three days where the goddess known as Kamakhya is believed to be menstruating. The temple is closed during this time to honor her. Aditi’s sharing at the screening opened the minds and imaginations of those present to the concept of the divinity of menstruation.
The next day, the history-rich plains town of Fort Collins was the site of the next movie screening. There is not yet a Red Tent community in this town, but the event was hosted in a New Age-style church by Leslie and Tracee, locals who work to empower women and girls. Leslie hosts a radio show (which three years ago featured an interview with Isadora) called Holy Hormones Honey! She is an author and researcher focusing on how hormonal changes during women’s menstrual cycles affect their well-being on all levels. Tracee is also an author as well as a community leader who works to revolutionize the way we think about raising girls, emphasizing the importance of helping them to know and experience their own power.
Isadora’s traveling red fabric wall hangings adorned the space where, after the screening, Leslie celebrated her 60th birthday with delicious cupcakes. The Q and A session featured long, depth-filled conversations. One woman found the courage to speak of the fear she had experienced at the beginning of the gathering upon walking into a room full of other women. She went on to share that as she sat in the space and listened to women speak, she began to overcome her fear and to imagine what might be possible if she had sisterhood in her life.
Each event was a precious pause in time and space during which participants experienced real-life women’s community as well as witnessing it onscreen.