Category Archives: Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost

Magical Moments and Safe Spaces during Spring 2015 Red Tents and Movie Screenings

by Jayleigh Lewis

Dr. Isadora’s recent travels took her to Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, where she attended Red Tent events both large and small. From an assembly of highly educated women at a psychology graduate school to a gathering of priestesses at an annual spiritual conference, the Red Tent brought magic and inspiration to all.

The filmmaker of Things We Don’t Talk About (otherwise known as the Red Tent movie) visited the Michigan School of Professional Psychology in Farmington Hills, Michigan (a northwestern suburb of Detroit), on April 26, 2015. She was there at the invitation of Ciera Bies, a doctoral student of Dr. Betz King, who is the coordinator of MiSPP’s master’s program. Dr. King and Dr. Isadora met in 2010 at a conference of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology, of which the two are members. Dr. Isadora was giving a presentation of the research that would eventually become the Red Tent movie; Dr. King was offering a workshop on menstruation ritual. Dr. Isadora was intrigued by the workshop and, when offered the opportunity, attended and had a great time.

MiSPP is a small, independent graduate school that was founded in 1980 as the Center for Humanistic Studies. The campus is four acres but all classes are held in the same building. Students, as part of their degrees, are required to organize events that bring presenters to campus; since Ciera’s doctoral work is aligned with Dr. Isadora’s Red Tent work (which itself was a doctoral dissertation, the first non-written dissertation allowed by the University of Wisconsin!), Dr. Isadora was a natural choice of presenter.

The event sold out with between 75 and 100 women in attendance. It was a highly organized, professional affair. A silent auction consisting of 100 donated items raised $500, which was used to help pay the cost of the gathering. Additionally, 25-30 community organizations and businesses were sponsors, with advertising featured in the programs that were handed out to attendees. During the first half hour, women were free to socialize, participate in the auction, and enjoy catered food before sitting down to watch the movie.

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The large atrium space was also host to a post-screening Red Tent, during which it was revealed that the majority of the women present held master’s degrees, while half held PhDs. It was a very educated audience! Strangely enough, the school’s regulations stipulated that the male janitorial staff had to hang the Red Tent; this was done on the Friday prior to the screening. The Red Tent stood ready all weekend, just waiting for the women.

Dr. Isadora at the permanent Red Tent in Lousiville, KY

Dr. Isadora at the permanent Red Tent in Louisville, KY

On May 8, Dr. Isadora attended a much smaller screening at a yoga studio in Clarksville, Tennessee, called Yoga Mat. On the way to Clarksville, Dr. Isadora took a detour to the famous, permanent Red Tent in Louisville, KY, where she spent the night in the Red Tent. It was a fantastic space created by Amy and Rebecca, where they host bi-weekly Red Tent events for women and girls. For more info visit:  http://www.redtentlouisville.com/

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Clarksville, TN is home to a large military base, and the town’s culture mostly revolves around it. The yoga studio might be one of the only local places able to attract a crowd that would be interested in the Red Tent movie! The screening was sponsored by the studio’s owners: Trish, Erika, Amanda, and Erin. Approximately 20 women attended, filling the space. An unofficial Red Tent followed, during which the women participated in a discussion initially prompted by questions about the movie but largely self-directed. The women explored aspects of the experience of being a stay-at-home mom, with some women speaking from the perspective of moms who wanted to stay at home with their kids but couldn’t, and some speaking from the perspective of moms who do stay at home but want to work.

Recently, Dr. Isadora has been making Red Tent movie rentals available online for $1 on specific dates which are announced in advance. May 9 was one of those dates. For 24 hours renters could watch the movie as many times as they wanted. For upcoming dates when you can take advantage of this opportunity (and to buy your rental ticket), go to the upcoming screenings page. The next two dates are June 13 and July 11.

For the second time in two years, Dr. Isadora was invited to the Priestess Gathering of the Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess, International (RCGI), held in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. This year’s gathering took place during the weekend of May 15-17. The RCGI, co-founded in 1983 by Lynnie Levy and Jade River, is a legally recognized religion dedicated to positive spiritual growth for all people and especially for women. It is an endorser of the film. Last year’s Gathering included a film screening as well as a Red Tent that was raised for the duration; this year there was no screening but a beautiful Red Tent and Dr. Isadora hosted a Red Tent workshop.

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Built by Dr. Isadora and 2 incredible helpers, this year’s Red Tent was grander and bigger than last year’s. It included several nooks and crannies, including an “inner sanctum” encircled by a larger outside space. Many women commented that they enjoyed this layout; even though the Red Tent as a whole could hold about 10 people at a time, those inside felt such coziness and privacy that they could almost imagine that they had the whole Tent to themselves! Dr. Isadora already has a vision for next year’s Red Tent: a two-story stairwell, including a loft area, will be incorporated into it. The stairwell will become a “birth canal”-like tunnel of red fabric, and the loft’s balcony will allow women to look down on the lower portion of the Tent. Additionally, Barb, who every year creates wonderful, elaborate altars for the Gathering, has agreed to build a Red Tent altar of all natural materials. Those who heard about this plan are very excited and can’t wait for next year!

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Dr. Isadora noted one very special moment that took place during the Gathering, a moment so touching that, for her, it was “the one thing I was supposed to do that weekend” and by itself was enough to make her glad she had showed up. She had offered the veil dancing ritual (where a few women lie on the floor while the rest of the group dances around them with veils, eventually laying the veils down on the women and resting them there for a short time until slowly and gently lifting them back off) in the Red Tent, and about 13 women had participated. One woman had very much wanted to attend but hadn’t been able to. Following her intuition, Dr. Isadora offered to do the ritual again that night just for her.

Later, after the main event of the evening, Dr. Isadora was sitting at a picnic table with a group of women eating fruit, including the woman who wanted the veil ritual. She got up to go do the ritual, and all of the women at the table joined her! A spontaneous, magical moment that no one could have planned followed as the women danced with and honored their sister. Being a woman who does not fit many traditional feminine norms, she was deeply touched to feel this kind of support from other women. After the ritual, the group played the song “How Could Anyone” (“How could anyone ever tell you you were anything less than beautiful? How could anyone ever tell you you were less than whole?”) and sang the words directly to her. In that moment, nothing could have been more perfect.

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, Jayleigh Lewis, recent screenings, red tent, red tent film, red tent movie, The Red Tent, The Red Tent Movement, women's spirituality

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/

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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 Celebrate Menstruation

How would our world be different if girls were raised to honor their menstrual time? How would our world be different if our girls had some form of celebration when they first began to menstruate. How would your life be different if you were celebrated? 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 have you celebrated menstruation?

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Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, blood, coming of age, From the filmmaker, growing up, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, menstruation video, Mood, moon, Moon Lodge, mooncycle, parenting, PMS

Menstrual Hut and Moon Lodge History

Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions show us that the Red Tent has a history: The idea of a separate women’s space or menstrual hut is not a new idea. Anita Diamant claims that the Red Tent in her book was fictionalized, but is rooted in research from Africa. Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions shape women’s understanding of the Red Tent as a women’s power space. There are menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions all over the world that date back to 800 C.E and in some places are still practiced today. These spaces offer a unique view of the Red Tent, but do they reinforce or contradict patriarchal oppression?


To learn more about the history of menstrual hut and moon lodges read our new eBook/Audiobook “The Red Tent Movement: A Historical Perspective” by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather. To purchase the eBook or Audiobook for $9.99 go to http://www.redtentmovie.com/audio-book.html

ebook-and-audiobook copy

I look forward to reading your comments below.

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Filed under From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, menstruation history, menstruation video, Moon Lodge, mooncycle, Red Tent TV

The Red Tent Movement: A Historical Perspective

Have you ever wondered…

What if you could have your own Red Tent of women in your community?

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?

Was there a Red Tent in history?

Where did this tradition come from?

Are you curious to know more…..?

ebook-and-audiobook copy

The Red Tent Movement:

A Historical Perspective

an eBook/Audiobook

by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather

The Red Tent has a history, but what is it? There are thousands of women across the globe who are bringing forth their gifts as Red Tent leaders in their communities, but where did this tradition come from? “The Red Tent” was 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. The Red Tent movement has a seventeen-year history, but connects to thousands of years of tradition of women honoring women and creating a world that embraces honesty, and respects for others, our daughters, and ourselves. We are in a new era of history. The healing of our planet is the priority of many committed visionaries. We understand that we are on a precipice and by building a woman-honoring culture we can create a huge paradigm shift one Red Tent at a time.

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Filed under ALisa Starkweather, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, The Red Tent Movement

How to make a beautiful Red Tent doorway

What does every Red Tent need (besides incredible women)—a beautiful doorway inviting them in!

In this very special episode of Red Tent TV, Dr. Isadora (the Red Tent Movie filmmaker) gives you a step-by-step guide on how she made her Red Tent doorway that she uses in her traveling Red Tent. This is One-of-a-Kind item is sure to add splendor to your already amazing Red Tent and she’s going to give you all of her tips & secrets so you can create it yourself.

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These unique doorway panels are specially designed and sewn by Dr. Isadora (the Red Tent Movie filmmaker). Fashioned with an antique, decorative, hand-embroidered cotton Uzbeck Suzani (“Suzani”) top piece. Layered sheer fabrics create the doorway opening. Beautiful fringe on both sides create an elegant and welcoming entryway. Two ornamental curtain tiebacks to hold the sides open are included. Hemmed at the top to accommodate a tension rod (not included) to hang in a standard doorway (dimensions: 36” × 80”).

Dr. Isadora has created only two of each doorway design: finished or unfinished. Order the door as a finished piece, and hang the door in seconds. Or order the doorway unfinished and sew it together yourself as a fun project. The unfinished doorway has the exact same materials (decorative Uzbeck Suzani and other fabrics, fringe, and tiebacks) as the finished one. You will need a sewing machine and thread. Tension rod is not included in either the finished or unfinished doorways.

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Filed under From the filmmaker, how to create a Red Tent, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, red tent, Red Tent Art, Red Tent TV, The Red Tent

January and February Red Tents and Movie Screenings: Warmth and Community in the Midst of Winter

by Jayleigh Lewis

Dr. Isadora, filmmaker of the Red Tent movie, Things We Don’t Talk About, resumed Red Tent hosting and film screening attendance in January and February 2015, after a brief hiatus. As she reconnected with the women of her local Chicago community and traveled to Milwaukee for a screening co-organized by a Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference attendee, screenings were also taking place in other parts of the country and world.

Of particular note were the screenings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 25, and in Coyhaique, Chile, on February 7. The former took place at the Sophia Center for Goddess Study, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating men and women about contemporary Goddess traditions. It was well-attended; Dr. Isadora would have been there if not for her prior commitment on that date to the Chicago Red Tent. The latter screening took place at a Chilean women’s festival, Encuentro Ser Mujeres en Patagonia, held at the Centro Cultural Coyhaique. Approximately 300 women attended the festival, reflecting the explosion of interest in Red Tents among women in Latin American countries over the past six months to a year. Since Things We Don’t Talk About is subtitled in Spanish, the film is well-suited to be an introduction to the Red Tent movement in these parts of the world!

On January 25, Dr. Isadora hosted a Red Tent in her Chicago home. She transformed her dining room into a red fabric-draped space which was filled to maximum capacity by the approximately 15 women who attended. Many of the women brought their children; Dr. Isadora makes it a point to welcome moms who can’t always manage to get a babysitter but still need time and space away from their ordinary lives. (One advantage of this is that everyone gets a chance to hold the babies!)

Red Tent Chicago

The event was “loose and flowing,” a time for women to talk and be together in whatever ways they wished. Embodying her commitment to giving back to her community and to honoring the women who show up, Dr. Isadora offered foot rubs to all. She also bonded with the eight-year-old daughter of a friend while painting the little girl’s nails with sparkly polish. It was a gentle and nourishing midwinter gathering.

The February 7 Milwaukee, WI, film screening, which took place at the 5757 Spa Salon, had a similar light and flowing feel. Liz and Cathy were the organizers. Cathy, who works at the salon, had attended the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference last June and had seen the Red Tent movie there. She happened to have been sitting between a woman in her 80s and a young mother with a baby, and had an inspired moment when she realized that the Red Tent was needed by all generations. After that, she was determined to bring it to the women in her local community.

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The salon, a former doctor’s office, does not have many large spaces (although, in each of its many small rooms, unique inspirational sayings are featured, reminding clients to look for beauty within). In order to clear a space large enough for the screening, the merchandise storage area (which had originally been the waiting room) needed to be emptied, a process which took hours of work. But it was worth it when the women showed up. The event was sold out with approximately 20 women in attendance (including one woman who had driven two hours from Chicago and was glad to find out from Dr. Isadora that there is a Chicago Red Tent community!).

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The post-screening Red Tent, initially slated to last an hour and a half, stretched on for almost three hours; the women did not want to leave! Three activity options were available—henna body painting, chakra aromatherapy, and angel card readings—and in between “appointments” women relaxed, talked, and ate chocolate-covered strawberries in the Red Tent.

Dr. Isadora engaged several women in thought-provoking conversation during this time, bringing to life the spirit of Things We Don’t Talk About by talking about the things women don’t usually talk about! One woman, a nurse at a midwifery clinic, discussed what she knows about infertility and overcoming the fear of having children. Another woman, a salon owner and hairstylist for 30 years, who had been brought to tears by the film, told Dr. Isadora what had so moved her: the depiction onscreen of nonsexual intimate touch. She knows through experience how powerful this kind of touch can be, how it can generate instant trust. When women come to her to get their hair styled, they are often initially uncomfortable with the risk involved in changing their appearance. She has learned to subtly reassure them by unobtrusively massaging their shoulders as they discuss what they want—and thus what was a tension-filled experience becomes a healing experience.

Another conversation touched on a little-discussed aspect of menstruation. Some cultures have menstrual rituals that help to direct the intense energy of this time. Native American women who are menstruating enter moon lodges, because they are seen as too powerful to be part of mundane life; they need to be able to concentrate on ceremony and dreaming. The mikvah is a ritual bath taken by Jewish women that serves as a type of spiritual cleansing and reorientation to the ordinary world after they have finished menstruating. For some women, the Red Tent is a menstrual ritual that can help support and anchor them while they are bleeding. One woman offered the opinion that when women become bloated, “bitchy,” and depressed around the time of their menstruation, it is because they are carrying unresolved grief around the loss of the egg that is passing out of them, grief over the unexpressed potential for life the egg represents. If a woman feels this way, and wants a safe space to get in touch with this inner truth that might otherwise go unacknowledged, the Red Tent as menstrual ritual could be the perfect container for its expression.

Truth and trust were shared, bonds were strengthened, and sacred time was enjoyed during these recent Red Tent gatherings. And more are coming next month! To see a listing of upcoming screenings (including those Dr. Isadora will be attending), go here. If you don’t see one for your area, perhaps you are being called to host one?

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, Jayleigh Lewis, recent screenings, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie