Category Archives: daughter

A story of Pregnancy & Death

I’m 24 weeks pregnant and it’s a girl! And she is living in the most fabulous Red Tent that I have ever created. The story of my pregnancy began back in October 2015, when I was at wrapping up a 3-year long Red Tent movie tour having hosted more than 1000+ screenings & Red Tents. My grand finale was at the Parliament of World Religions, where I was co-facilitating a 6-day long Red Tent with ALisa Starkweather and Giuliana Serena for over 8,000 people. At this conference, I met this most extraordinary grandmother elder who I greeted with such love. She said to me, “You are my mother.” A spiritual seed was planted.

sonogram

After this conference, my time traveling ended and it was time to settle down with my fabulous husband and start the next “stage” of our life. I had intended to get a temporary, “normal” job in Chicago for about a year and start a family. And once the baby was born, I would be a stay-at-home mom for a year or so. But things didn’t really work out as I planned. As my level of frustration increased, one day in early February everything changed. Within a 24-hr period, I found out that I was officially pregnant and that my friend Lydia Ruyle was dying of a brain tumor.

Image of the Tarot Card I got everyday for a few weeks. Image courtesy of Katherine Skaggs.

Image of the Tarot Card I got everyday for a few weeks. Image courtesy of Katherine Skaggs.

My first sign of pregnancy was not that I had missed a period; it was that my morning tarot card was the water child (see photo) everyday for like 2-3 weeks. When I found out that I was pregnant and that my friend was dying, I said to my husband, I want to go to Colorado for the next few months and film the end of my friend’s life. Lydia was a matriarch of a global sisterhood and I have always wanted to make a movie about her, but the timing was never right over the past 10 years. Lydia is the reason why I make the kinds of movies I make. She has always supported me and said that the world needs the kinds of movies I wanted to make. She has been a huge guiding force in my professional life and for that I will always be grateful. With my husband’s blessing, I left for Colorado to film Lydia. I was greeted with tremendous support of Lydia’s incredible husband, her daughters and son, and her niece. Filming Lydia was a deeply profound experience for me, and of course she was extremely excited to find out that I was pregnant. I captured a truly amazing story about her life and her death, and I look forward to the time when I turn it into a movie for you all to see. Lydia lived her life with such gusto and she always wanted to encourage others to let their light shine too!

Dr. Isadora, Lydia Ruyle, and ALisa Starkweather in the Red Tent at the Parliament of World Religions

Dr. Isadora, Lydia Ruyle, and ALisa Starkweather in the Red Tent at the Parliament of World Religions

As my time with her came to an end in March, my morning sickness and debilitating nausea were taking hold of my life. And for the past several months, I retreated to my house, which is why not many people have heard from me on social media, phone or email. To this day, I still have nausea. It’s been a difficult pregnancy. But she’s healthy and kicking up a storm in utero. My due date is October 23rd. So she may be a Libra or a Scorpio, we shall see. She will be the 4th generation of matriarchal zodiac cusp women, since my birthday is May 22nd, my mother’s is August 22nd, and my grandmother’s was April 21st. We have yet to pick a name, but I know that it’s going to be something AMAZING!

1 Comment

Filed under birth, daughter, death, friendship, From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, red tent film, red tent movie, story

The Year of Yes

Q&A Interview with Tracee Sioux

Where were you before your Year of YES!?
Before Year of YES! I had just gotten a divorce and was making $600 a month, feeding my kids from the food bank. I had been a stay-at-home-mom for 12 years, having tanked my journalism career in favor of motherhood. I had kept my foot wedged in the door of my profession by taking craptastic piece writing work for the privilege of calling myself a journalist. It’s the story of hundreds of thousands of other women in this country. I found that no one really wants to hire you after you leave the workforce in favor of motherhood.

What made you want to say YES! to your Soul?
I had a moment, washing dishes after the divorce in a terrifying personal financial crisis and I felt a deep peace within my Soul. She had gotten what she wanted. She was no longer in constant conflict with my wasband. She came here with a purpose—to use her gift of writing to help others—but, he was never supportive of that, constantly telling her to quit and go get a job. Finally, she had gotten what she wanted. I realized, if my Soul gets what she wants, I get to have this incredible peace. If she doesn’t I have this horrible feeling of being conflicted.

What if my soul got everything she wanted? What would my life look like? Where would I be?

I committed. How do you feel about the word NO? I love that word. I think a Power NO is saying YES! to your Soul. Everyone is trying to be the boss of everyone else all the time. Your family, your husband, your kids, your parents, your church, your friends, the PTA, your kid’s teacher, our boss, your coworkers, your neighbors—everyone has an opinon about what you should be doing with your life. Saying YES! to your Soul is saying NO! to everyone else’s agenda for your life.

Why aren’t people already living their Soul’s Purpose?
If you weren’t afraid of your Soul’s Purpose you’d already be living it. Our Souls often ask us to do things that defy convention and interfere with other people’s agendas for our lives. It’s scary to go against what other people believe you should be doing. My Soul asked me to take risks—big risks—emotional, financial, social and sexual—risks during my Year of YES! Much of it didn’t make sense to me. It was a total act of faith. I leapt off a lot of cliffs. Many people don’t approve of what my Soul leads me to do. There’s a loss in that. But, it’s worth it for the feeling of internal peace.

How do you know when it’s your Soul and not something else?
Excellent question. And it’s the one I get asked most often. So many outside voices live inside our heads—vying for mindshare, demanding to be the boss of us. I have several methods for being able to tell what’s the Soul and what’s the Ego or other Outside voices. There’s a Soul v. Ego Smackdown eCourse on my website for free that will walk you through a three-step process. First you have to silence the outside voices. Then you have to invite the Soul to speak. Then you have to choose. The Soul is kind and sweet and gentle. Even if it’s asking you to do something you’re afraid of—and it often will—it will feel peaceful and loving when it asks. The Ego is mean and sometimes even cruel. It has three main lies to get you to obey it: you don’t have enough time, you don’t have enough money and you’re not good enough. It often calls names, gets angry and threatens things like judgment, poverty and shame. The Ego makes a lot of very good and rational points. The Soul simply wants you to follow your desires.

You try alternative methods to sexuality and healing from sexual trauma in the book. Can you talk more about that?
Yes. Like many, many women I have sexual trauma in my past. Traditional therapy participates in what I call Pain Soaking, you talk about your pain, but it never heals. With religion you talk about your pain and celibacy is the only option for sexual healing. Neither provides a positive sexual experience to replace the negative sexual experience. It just leaves a void for the demons to creep back into. I really needed practice to experience staying in my body during sexual contact. I needed to experience my own sexuality without worrying about the other person’s sexuality.

 

You talk about men in this book. Where they’re at and what’s going on with them. Can you talk about that?
I’ve had lots of trauma caused by men in my past. I needed to heal that. We have this new phenomenon with gender roles being flip flopped and men feel sad, impotent in the world. Women are feeling stressed out from doing everything. I wish more men were on the spiritual path. I’d like to see them get in the game. I miss men. My Year of YES! put some phenomenal men in my life and I really, really needed to see that they existed.

You talk about addiction and quitting drinking in the book.

After 9/11 I suffered severe post partum depression—I was 8 months pregnant when I witnessed the second tower being hit. I couldn’t get my physiological terror response to turn off afterward. I was in a state of anxiety that left me debilitated and unable to function. Doctors prescribed more and more Xanax, a dentist prescribed more and more codeine. Eventually I ended up in rehab to avoid seizures from withdrawal. I continued to drink alcohol, but the year before the book was written I had gotten some pretty serious warning signs from my Soul to stop drinking or pay a very high price. Whether it’s a gene or a spiritual demon passed down for generations—It’s a serious problem for me and my family. I’ve always been in relationships with addicts and I’ve fought my own demons. I only drank once during my Year of YES! and it was a terrible experience of separation from God.

You did past life regression in your Year of YES! Why? What was that like?
It’s funny because at the beginning of the book I kind of make fun of past life beliefs. Yet, I was facing turmoil over a relationship that I couldn’t understand. I just couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. My Soul kept telling me to contact this past life regressionist that I had met at a conference. So I said YES! I had three regression experiences that literally left me changed. During one I felt a love very deep and pure, during another I was pleasure drenched in the love between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, and in another I threw a gold clutch from the spirit realm to this realm and was gifted a company logo. Each experience was quite transformative for my Year of YES! There are many dimensions in the Kingdom of Heaven.

You pray to many gods and deities in this book. Why?
I pray to one god of many names and interpretations and traditions. I find common ground in various religious traditions and wisdom among all belief systems. I draw from whichever one brings me the most strength, healing, wholeness, power and beliefs.

You’ve done some pretty seriously wrong things, to friends and family. Why would you tell everyone about them?
I’m flawed. My mistakes aren’t grounded in maliciousness. They were grounded in confusion about who I am and mistakes I have made. Most of them were motivated by love. Love is a many faceted thing and a great many of us are doing it very badly. But we’re doing it.

The Year of Yes Book Synopsis

In 2012 Tracee found herself feeding her kids from the food bank following her divorce. She was doing everything “they” told her to do with her fledgling writing business—she had the national media attention and the Thank You notes to prove it—but she was only making $600 a month. She was “awesome,” everyone said so. She had “awesomed” her way to the food bank. Her life was completely transformed when she decided to follow her Soul’s voice in her business and her life. She ended her Year of YES! filing taxes for $65,000, within 18 months she had cleared the six-figure mark. During the year she built a scalable foundation for her business, created a Spiritual Travel Column, created an amazing support system of positive people, lost three pants sizes and freed herself from the guilt and shame of her past.

She now teaches people how to say YES! to their own Soul’s Song. Every person came here with a Purpose and Tracee loves to help people discover what that Purpose is and turn it into a profitable business and an intentional life. When you align with your Soul’s Purpose the Universe rolls out the red carpet for you—of course, it’s a flying carpet and you have to leap off the cliff to get to it—Tracee helps you gain the audacity to leap.

The Year of YES! Memoir, what if you said YES! to everything your Soul told you to do? Where would your life take you? What would you be doing? This is a memoir of my own Year of YES! It’s a spiritual awakening, a raw, unflinching reckoning with my jagged past, a transmutation of self and an exploration of sexuality—the sacred (and not so sacred)—a journey of healing and a slaying of demons. Ultimately, it’s a look at where I’ve been and choosing where I’m going.

About the Author

Tracee Sioux, Mastress of Manifestation, is author, coach, radio host and creator of The Year of YES! It’s the year you say YES! to everything your Soul tells you to do. Her Soul’s Purpose is to help others develop the audacity to say YES! to their own Soul’s purpose. Her work has been featured in New York Times Magazine, Forbes.com and Today.com.

Sioux led The Girl Revolution, a movement to empower girls in the face of today’s marketing and media messaging. She is the author of Love Distortion: Belle, Battered Codependent and Other Love Stories. Read a free sample chapter of The Year of YES! at http://www.traceesioux.com

Leave a comment

Filed under ageing, beauty, career, coming of age, daughter, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Momprenuers, mother, motherhood, parenting, tracee sioux

My Mother Told Me…

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?
What messages are you offering your daughter about being a Woman?
What legacy would you like to pass-on Today’s Girls?

Help me celebrate Mother’s Day! Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for a special episode of Red Tent TV featuring a provocative conversation with Dr. Isadora & her mother (Teresa Moorehouse) as they give you their answers to the questions above.


This video was originally created for the ‘Red Tents In Every Neighborhood’ 2nd Annual World Summit. The Global Summit’ drew more than 5,000 women from all over the world during February 2015, and featured speakers from the U.S.A, Spain, Germany, U.K, Italy, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia. Participants from around the world felt transformed, inspired, and ready to start a Red Tent in their neighborhood – as a result of the summit!

After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know…How would you answer the above questions.

If you liked this video, subscribe to our channel & sign up for our free weekly episodes of Red Tent TV at http://www.redtent.tv/

Leave a comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, From the filmmaker, grandmother, growing up, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, red tent film, red tent movie, Red Tent TV, Red Tents in Every Neighborhood

How to Talk to your Daughter about Her Body?

By Nati Lucero

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

img_9643

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

Reproduced with permission from Namaluc

2 Comments

Filed under coming of age, daughter, growing up, Guest Blogger, menstruation, mother, motherhood, parenting, transition

Red Tent TV: Double Feature

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for DOUBLE FEATURE with 2 episodes of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched this episode, I’d love to know…

How would our world be different if we could have a space like this to share our stories? How would our relationships with our mothers or our daughters be different?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

We will always need Red Tents in our neighborhoods, and here’s why…

About the Interviewee featured in these videos:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities.

Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

bar

-1

DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, From the filmmaker, growing up, menstruation, mooncycle, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, Red Tent TV

How to Discuss Menstruation With Your Child

by DeAnna L’am

“This is my Moon Flow,” I said to Ellah, who was about 4 at the time, when she saw me changing a pad. I never saw my Mom changing pads, and hence committed to not hiding my natural flow from my daughter. Without my flow, my girl would not have been born… How could this be anything but a source of joy in my ability to give birth? An ability she will one day share!

“All women flow with the moon,” I added, “and you, too, will flow when you become a woman.” Ellah smiled with the promise, and at four years of age this was enough. I didn’t refer to the flow as “blood” until much later, since I didn’t want Ellah to associate it with an “Ouwy.” The purpose with young children, both girls and boys, is to introduce, and talk about, this natural bodily function in the same neutral way as you do when talking about eating. Gradually, as the child matures, it is good to tie the flow to its purpose, which is a woman’s ability to give life.

If you find that you have some charge about your menstruation (such as physical or emotional pain) it is best not to introduce the subject to your child until you work through your difficulty and gain some balance for yourself.

Generally, it is best not to bombard children with information, but to wait for their questions. When Ellah was about seven, she asked me where does the Moon Flow come from? My answer was inspired by the Waldorf educational approach, and I explained that the Moon Flow is “Mom’s Nest.”

“Mommy’s Nest???” she asked in amazement.

“Yes,” I said. “When a Mama bird prepares for a baby bird to be born, she makes a nest. She flies in the forest and collects leaves, feathers, boughs, branches, and bits of fluff, and she weaves a nest for the baby bird to comfortably lie in.”

“Well…” I continued, “it’s the same with me. And with all women! Every month a woman’s body prepares a nest in her tummy, where a baby can grow. Her wise body gathers tissue and blood from inside her, and makes a warm and comfortable nest. Then, if no baby starts to grow, there is no need for the nest. So Mamma’s wise body sends the nest out in a big whoosh. That’s why the flow is red, because it’s made of all the good, nourishing blood that was ready to help the baby grow.”

“Every month,” I shared with my daughter, “I thank my body for being such a miracle, and for knowing how to make a baby grow inside… I also thank it for the wisdom of letting go of the nest, when I don’t need it…” Ellah was fully satisfied. She had a clear picture in her mind, and the Moon Flow made sense to her.

Telling your child a story of this nature doesn’t only encapsulate the physical facts associated with menstruation. It allows you to start instilling the awe, which our bodies deserve for their amazing abilities. Beyond that, you are actively bucking the cultural current of taboo and shame around menstruation. You are raising a girl or a boy who will have a different narrative with which to counter the cultural beliefs when they encounter them.

barAbout the Author:

DeAnna-Sacramento-WEBDeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ . She is the founder of Red Tents in Every Neighborhood.

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

bar

-1

DeAnna L’am is excited to announce…

2nd Annual Red Tents In Every Neighborhood ~ Global Summit:

OUR DAUGHTERS, OURSELVES

 “A Mother-Daughter Interview in the Red Tent”
a New Video by Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost  and Teresa Moorehouse will be featured during the Summit.

What messages did your mother give you about being a Woman?

What messages are you offering your daughter, or son, about being a Woman?

What legacy would you like to pass to Today’s Girls?

About the Red Tent World Summit:

Join me to listen to Womb Wisdom, to Honor Our Mothers, Ourselves, and Today’s Girls! Get Inspired by Leading Visionary Women from Around the World: U.S.A, Spain, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, India, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand, with Special Guest – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON!

Our FREE Global Summit will air February 1-28,

and you can watch it from the comfort of your home!

join-the-telesummit

Leave a comment

Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, blood, coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, growing up, menstruation, moon, mooncycle, moontime, mother, motherhood, parenting, red tent, Reproductive Health, womb

Feminist Utopia…

Remember yourself as a little girl. Now imagine what that little girl would do if she were invited into a Red Tent. Would she play, sing, laugh, learn, relax? We can create this for our daughters and the daughters of our sisters…

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for today’s episode of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know…

How would you life be different if you had a Red Tent as a girl?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

If you liked this video, subscribe to our channel & sign up for our free weekly episodes of Red Tent TV at http://www.redtent.tv/

Missed my most recent episodes? Watch them here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw

Enjoy the video and have a fantastic day! Thanks for watching!

My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw
Website: http://www.redtent.tv
Friendship on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/redtentfilm

Opening song “Red Tent Temple” by Mother Turtle. http://www.motherturtle.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", coming of age, daughter, Feminism, red tent, red tent film, red tent movie, Red Tent TV, story, The Red Tent, women's spirituality, women's stories

#TheRedTent has a history, but what is it?

The Red Tent Movement:

A Historical Perspective

by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD

and ALisa Starkweather

RELEASE DATE: March 8, 2015

Excerpt from the ebook & Audiobook (narrated by Dr. Isadora)

There are thousands of women across the globe who are bringing forth their gifts as Red Tent leaders in their communities. Women who are standing in their power are essential to shifting present paradigms; these pioneers are a balm to an ailing world. But after years of oppression, how do women rise up out of trauma to remember the beauty that lives at one’s core? How do we strip away that which prevents us from rising as wise female leaders? This reclamation work is what many are a part of because when we find our voices, our inspired action, and our needed vision then we stand a better chance at creating a world we can thrive in. And it is with this spirit that the Red Tent movement has flourished as a global phenomenon.

Most women have heard of the Red Tent because they read the book. The Red Tent was a novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 that gave us a story of women who come together in a menstrual hut, known as the Red Tent. In the story, Diamant retells the biblical rape story of Dinah. “The Rape of Dinah” (Genesis, chapter 34) was recounted not by Dinah, but by her brothers. Diamant provided a fictional feminist retelling of the tale, giving Dinah her own voice. The book is presented through Dinah’s eyes and those of the women around her. The story showed us how the women raised young daughters who were taught the secrets held for women by women through initiation, stories, and relationships. For many, the story resonated deeply and caused us to question if there was a place like this in our society.

Have you ever wondered…

What if you could have your own circle of women each month in a Red Tent in your neighborhood?

What if our daughters were brought up to expect some kind of honoring when they had their first period?

What happens in our modern culture when we hold Red Tents for women?

Are you curious to know…..?

Special Pre-Sale Offer

Buy the eBook or the Audiobook for $9.99

(delivered on March 8, 2015)

& receive a free rental of the Red Tent Movie “Things We Don’t Talk About”

for FREE right NOW ($4.99 value)

50-page eBook with gorgeous Red Tent photos

45-minute Audiobook narrated by Dr. Isadora

1 Comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", ALisa Starkweather, Anita Diamant, daughter, From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, mooncycle, parenting, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie, red tent temple, Red Tent Temple Movment, The Red Tent

Return To The Red Tent

by Teresa Maria Bilowus

“Return To The Red Tent” was first published in Starflower Living Naturally, Issue 2, July 2014

“How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go…a place of women, to help you learn the ways of women… a place where you were nurtured from an ancient flow sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. A place of women to help you find and trust the ancient flow already there within yourself… waiting to be released… A place of women…” ~ Judith Duerk, Circle of Stones

IMG_1995

Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

There is a place where women can go to tell their stories. A place where women can rest, create, sing, dance, sleep, or just ‘be’ for a while. There is a place where women can be witness to authentic sharing and connection. A place where women can hold each other and be held. There is a place where women can go to experience a ‘homecoming’ and leave feeling renewed, restored, replenished and open. There is a place for women. It is called the Red Tent. When women’s paths meet in this safe and sacred space, lives are transformed.

It is unlikely that when Anita Diamant published her best-selling novel ‘The Red Tent‘ back in 1997 she could have imagined how her work would be a catalyst for a ‘Great Remembering’. Anita Diamant’s descriptions of the monthly celebrations in The Red Tent not only illustrate the close relationship with land and nature and the moon cultivated by semi-nomadic women in ancient times, they also indicate the strong bond between women who would menstruate together in a sacred gathering space. It was in this sacred space, the Red Tent, where every girl became a woman.

Whilst the origins of the ‘Red Tent’ are fictional, women sitting together in circle is ancient and very real. Women coming together to bleed is found in almost every culture around the world. In some traditions women were segregated from their communities for being ‘unclean’ during their monthly bleeding time. But in many cultures women were honoured during the bleeding days and went to a special place within the village to commune with other women. Sometimes this place was called the women’s lodge, the moon lodge, the menstrual hut, the bleeding lodge, or by some other traditional indigenous name. These spaces all had great power and significance because it was the space where women bled together and shared wisdom. It was in these spaces that women passed down their traditions and shared their aural history – their stories and their mythology. It was in these sacred dwellings that women connected to their own inner power – in particular the intuitions and visions that came at the time of bleeding. And it was in these gathering spaces that women helped guide young girls into womanhood and were themselves guided by the community elders.

IMG_1909

Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

Today, the Red Tent is a global women’s movement. There are an estimated 20,000 Red Tents worldwide. In thousands of locations around the world women are once again gathering together to share the cycles and the stories of their lives. These are important times. For the last 4000 years the entire history of ‘woman’ has been suppressed. Women’s songs, wisdom, traditions, intuitions, stories, methods of healing, mythology, knowledge of herbs and of the stars, and of magic and the underworld have all been vanquished. Patriarchy effectively wrote history in the image and the voice of the masculine. This doesn’t necessary mean that history is wrong. But it does mean that without the voices of women, history is wildly incomplete.

When women enter the Red Tent a ‘Great Remembering’ takes place. Women the world over share the same experience of coming into the Red Tent for the first time and yet it being deeply familiar. The Red Tent is a gathering ground for which women have been yearning, but until women actually enter the space, this yearning has not been released. Adeola from the Red Tent community in Bournemouth, UK says “I found a space I hadn’t released I craved, to speak with a voice I had never heard, about a wisdom I had carried since birth but had no awareness of.”

It seems that ancient women-wisdom is woven into the very fabric of the Red Tent space. From its fictional beginnings, women all over the world have breathed power and life into the Red Tent. Some Red Tents focus on celebrating menstruation and the blood mysteries, others are simply a place where women can dance, sing, rest and speak their stores. Healing, transformation and renewal are common themes within Red Tent communities. Regardless of age, culture, background, experience, religion, or circumstance, all women have a home within the Red Tent. There is a deep-knowing that when a woman enters the Red Tent she is supported not only by other women, but by an ancient energy that has drawn women together since the Beginning.

Women have big, important stories. Deep, painful stories. Stories that matter. Stories make up the meaning of women’s lives and yet for so long there has not been a place for women to share these stories. It is so easy for women to hide what has happened to them – to stuff their own experiences down into a hidden-away-space so as not to feel them. It makes it easier to ‘get on’ with day to day life. But within the walls of the Red Tent women are experiencing the phenomenal healing power of telling their stories. No one needs ‘fixing’ or advice in the Red Tent. There is no judgement or ‘therapy’. But there’s lots of compassion. And there are lots of women being heard. When women speak it, shout it, cry it, scream it, feel it – whatever ‘it’ is, then it comes to the surface to be released. Women’s stories are monumentally important. Each and every one of them. All over the world the Red Tent is providing a safe and sacred space for women to tell their stories. And be heard.

IMG_1044

Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

In September 2012, award winning film-maker Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost released a ground-breaking documentary entitled “Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent‘. This 72 minute film seeks to ‘humanize the stories in the Red Tent – to put a face on the space’. Recently I had the wonderful pleasure of connecting with Dr. Isadora to talk about her film and the worldwide Red Tent movement.

Dr. Isadora, can you define what the Red Tent is for modern-day women?

“The Red Tent today can be anything you want it to be. The Red Tent is to fulfill the needs of your community. What do women need? Who would come? Sometimes women need to dance, sometimes to talk, sometimes to rest, to laugh, to cry, or to eat soup. There’s no one right way to create a Red Tent space. It has to meet the needs of the community, whatever those needs might be.”

Why now? Why at this time? Why has the Red Tent movement become so big?

“Contemporary women have a need for sisterhood. The Red Tent movement has a wonderful ability to cross all boundaries of culture, religion and background. No matter who you are, what language you speak or who you love, inside the Red Tent we are all sisters. I’ve heard women’s stories from Red Tents in India that are the same as women’s stories from Red Tents in Chile. The Red Tent transcends everything and brings women together to just ‘be’ in a safe and sacred space.”

So is the Red Tent part of the feminist movement?

“Well, firstly, let’s define feminism. My definition of a feminist is someone who believes that all women should be respected, honoured, nurtured, and heard. A feminist wants all women to believe in themselves. A feminist is someone who wants women to muster up the courage to live what they came here to do. I believe we are in the third wave of feminism. The first wave was the right to vote. Then came the second wave which was for equality. But we went out too hard. We burnt ourselves out. And so now the third wave of feminism is about self-care and self-love. It’s about bringing everything back into balance. The Red Tent gives us a place where we can find this balance. We can find sustenance communing with other women within the walls of the Red Tent. This gives us the power and the strength to go out into the world and do our work. Women need this balance.”

IMG_2338

Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

 

Dr. Isadora, in addition to being a filmmaker, you are also a textile historian. How important is the ‘fabric’ when creating a Red Tent?

“I have personally done over 500 film screenings of ‘Things We Don’t Talk About‘. Each screening is done in a Red Tent. I set up these Red Tents in gardens, churches, houses, forests, community halls and theatres. I have a great love of fabric. I have lived in 18 countries and I am intrigued by the history of fabric. I create amazing Red Tents with beautiful fabrics that I have collected from all over the world. But I know women who simply gather in circle each wearing a red scarf. That’s a Red Tent too. The Red Tent is any embodied space that honours the needs of women.”

Could you share your forward vision for the Red Tent movement?

“I would like to see The Red Tent movement get to places that are not so westernized. I would like to see it grow into places such as Eastern Europe and Asia. I’d like to see the potential that the Red Tent movement has to support women in those countries. I’d also like more international festivals with huge Red Tents. I envision global summits and international symposiums on the Red Tent movement where women from all over the world come to share their experience and their future vision.”

And finally, what about the future vision for your film? Where to from here for ‘The Red Tent Movie: Things We Don’t Talk About’?

“I would like to do lots more film screenings within the US and internationally. And I’d like to make another Red Tent film. The next one would incorporate women’s stories from the global Red Tent movement. I’d like to film women from the Red Tent telling their stories in their own countries, culture and language, and then subtitle them in English.”

When contemporary women are asked what the Red Tent means to them, they share that the Red Tent is “a sacred feminine temple where I can honour myself”, and “home”, and “a place of powerful healing – healing where nothing needs to be done”, and “a place where I can come back to my pack.” There is a gentleness, kindness and realm of support for women within the Red Tent that is not found anywhere else in modern day society. Many women are witness to the powerful outpouring of love that takes place in the Red Tent. Women who have previously felt resistance toward women’s circles because of negative experiences of malevolent or competitive women are being drawn back to reconnect with women within the safe space of the Red Tent. Here, women are being nurtured by each other. Women can enter the Red Tent at any time. This supportive space is no longer just for women at the time of menstruation. The global Red Tent culture offers a place for all women to gather and honour their own individual journey while experiencing oneness with a united sisterhood.

There are often regular monthly gatherings within a Red Tent community. These monthly gatherings might be loosely structured to include movement and music, talks, rest time, craft activities, body work, creative pursuits, pampering, reading, journalling and much more. In addition, Red Tent communities offer open days where women can use the space in whatever way supports their needs.   Workshops or special events held in the Red Tent are often focused on areas that are deeply raw and painful for women. These can include topics such as healing from birth trauma, dialogue about sexual abuse and rape, mother wound healing, and empowerment around the menstrual cycle. Often when women take part in a workshop or retreat, they can experience big shifts only to go back to the ‘real world’ where there is no where to discuss, share, explore, or expand these shifts further. This can be difficult when the work is deep and the processes new. Within the space of the Red Tent, women can find ongoing support around such shifts from other women in the Red Tent community and from the space itself.

It is common within the Red Tent to find teenagers conversing with crones. This is a space where all stages of a woman’s life are recognized and honoured. The sacred trinity of maiden, mother and crone are melded together in a diverse and dynamic group of women defying societal norms on age segregation. It is within the Red Tent that young girls are experiencing powerful coming-of-age circles and empowering mentorship programs. Once again women are guiding girls into womanhood. For the first time in generations girls have a place to go to learn the ways of women. The Red Tent is a collaboration of women. All women have gifts to bring. Some women give massages, as others make tea. Some women bake cakes while others brush hair. Some women read poetry as their sisters are painting toenails. The Red Tent is where all of this can happen simultaneously and with complete spontaneity.

The healing that is taking place in the Red Tent is vital for our planet. When women heal themselves there is a ripple effect that touches their ancestors, their children, and the entire global community. Courageous women all over the world are speaking their stories. Women are finding their voices. When a woman comes to the Red Tent she experiences a ‘homecoming’ and a deep sense of belonging. Each time she returns to the Red Tent she returns home to herself.

© Copyright Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014 All Rights Reserved.

 About the Author

Teresa Maria Bilowus is a facilitator of workshops and retreats pertaining to Women’s Blood Mysteries. She is a Menstruality Empowerment Activist. Teresa facilitates Red Tent Bournemouth (Dorset, UK) and is the founder of Moon Girl Warriors, a powerful coming-of-age mentorship program for girls. Teresa is passionate about giving voice to womb-space wisdom and educating women on the rites-of-passage from menarche to menopause. She studies metaphysics and is a freelance writer. Teresa is the inspired mother of two phenomenal daughters.

Teresa can be contacted at: returntotheredtent@gmail.com

 

For further information on the Red Tent please visit:

Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost – ‘The Red Tent Movie – Things We Don’t Talk About’ http://www.redtentmovie.com/

The Red Tent Temple Movement http://redtenttemplemovement.com/

The Red Tent Directory – UK and Europe http://redtentdirectory.com/

Red Tents In Every Neighbourhood http://www.deannalam.com/global-network/

And for further information about HERSTORY – A Womanifesto (an informative free e-book) please visit the website of Jane Hardwicke Collings: http://www.moonsong.com.au/

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", ALisa Starkweather, Anita Diamant, blood, coming of age, daughter, DeAnna L'am, Feminism, friendship, From the filmmaker, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, how to create a Red Tent, international, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, moon, Moon Lodge, mooncycle, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie, red tent temple, Red Tent Temple Movment, sacred space, space, The Red Tent, women's stories

An Invitation into the Red Tent (sound meditation mp3)

by Delphine Demore, PhD

It is dark inside the tent, with the light muted by the enclosure. At this late afternoon hour, the entire dwelling is tinted red and pink and orange. Soon the sun will set and the glow of the fire and burning coals will be the only light. You sit in the Elder’s chair, near the doorway. The fire is burning brightly and there is water in the clay jars at the other side of the room, to keep it cool. There is food, cooked ahead and preserved, with fruit and cheese. A week of freedom from preparations, child care, household chores, marital responsibilities, a time all the women come to treasure. Tonight, there are a few newly bleeding girls joining the Red Tent. They have not been to the Women’s tent before and they are curious, eager but worried too. Like all fledglings, they anticipate and fear what is unfamiliar. You smile, remembering your first time in the tent. The tenderness you feel for the newly fertile girls was shown to you then. The tradition of women handing down their wisdom and teaching their daughters is ancient and honored here.

11-minute Guided Sound Meditation. Featuring the song “Dream Wisdom” by David R. Maracle

You hear the approach of the first woman. She is a young matron with 2 small children. She smiles at you and you anoint her forehead with the blessing oil. You embrace, kissing each other on each cheek. She takes a seat in the circle around the stones. Soon others join her, standing in line for their anointing, embracing you and each other with warmth and welcome. The first timers come together, finding courage in numbers. They are welcomed in kind.

When all have arrived, you begin the Women’s Chant, calling on the protection of the Divine Mother. The women join hands and chant, filling the tent with their sweet voices. You pour the first cup of water on the stones in the center, sending up a burst of steam into the hole above the circle. Your chant begins to quiet and your prayers are sent out into the sky.

The youngest women rise and address the new arrivals. They tell of their first time in the tent and their first menses. They honor and bless the girls, welcoming them into the circle of women. They are each handed a branch of lavender and rosemary, as a symbol of love, peacefulness, protection and healing. The other women come forward, one at a time, in age order, to bless the girls and tell a short story of their own blood time. Finally, you are left to speak. Though you have not bled for a long time, you often volunteer to anchor the Blood Times Tent. All the women come if they can. Many are needed to care for children and do the women’s chores while the bleeding women are sequestered.

The women again join hands and hum softly as another cup of water is thrown on the hot stones. When the steam dies away, there is a collective sigh and everyone relaxes.

As the women begin to talk to each other, in pairs or small groups, enjoying the leisure that their nomadic life prohibits during the rest of the month, your attention drifts and you remember other Blood times, other days, women who were friends and who are gone now. You remember…

You see yourself pressing your lavender and rosemary between stones after your first time. Like the young girls here tonight, you stored them in your amulet. Reaching for the amulet that hangs from your neck, you know that you have them still. You remember bringing your first babe with you, nursing her in the steamy air, content to drift in and out of the conversations, absorbed in the love affair of motherhood. Your other babies were also brought here, but the memory of that one is still sharp in your heart. Your daughter goes to another tent somewhere else, in her husband’s family, taking your granddaughter with her. You wish you saw them more often.

You recall the first time your daughter came to the tent, brave and strong. She was not timid, but walked in with her head high, expecting to be accepted, expecting to belong. As a mother, you had taught her well to honor herself and the sacred mystery that is fertility. You are proud of her. That tradition goes on, wherever your daughter and granddaughter go.

Today, your other daughter is present here, following the Shaman Way rather than the motherhood path. You are proud of her too.

In the tent, friendships are forged and confidences shared. All seek understanding, celebration and solace from each other. You remember your mother, taking her turn as elder in the tent, looking at you with that proud, fierce mother look. Even now, after so long, you miss her. Soon, you will travel that ancient river and be reunited with her. The cycle of life, like the blood flowing here, will go on…

We honor that ancient tradition here today. Taking a deep breath, bring yourself back here to the circle. When you are ready, open your eyes.

Leave a comment

Filed under blood, coming of age, daughter, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, meditation, memory, menstruation, moon, Moon Lodge, moontime, mother, motherhood, place, Post Menopausal, red tent, red tent experience, ritual, space, transition, Uncategorized, women's stories