Category Archives: motherhood

How a hundered metres of red material changed my life

By Angelika Rodler

The first time I saw a Red Tent was at a birth conference in Hungary in 2003. It was made of simple poster walls, covered with a lot of red material. I went in without any expectations, but I understood within a second. The tiny room was filled with pillows, honey was offered to honor the women who came in. It was so peaceful, silent – like coming home. A different world- and while outside the conference program stimulated the neocortex, here was the place to dream and share about all the new visions which were created on this pioneer´s conference. My friend and wonderful midwife Marina Alzugaray was with me and I could not imagine a better person to be introduced to the sacred space of the Red Tent. At this time I was organizing an annually birth conference in Austria and for 2004, I invited the Hungarian Red Tent Women to come with their concept and material. This first red tent was also very tiny, but the women at the conference loved it and this motivated me create our own one, much bigger, for next year. Many midwives used it to recreate, meet with friends and new contacts, take a nap…After this sweet experience I knew that I need a Red Tent. When I came home I worked like crazy and 24 hours later I had one in an free room of our house. A space only for my own needs and to share time with my girlfriends and my daughter…. In 2006 I became pregnant with my 5th child and I was sure that she will be born inside the Red Tent. It was candle lite, peaceful water birth with my midwife, Doulas, my daughter – and of cause my very supporting husband. This was really a birth party. I never will forget the magical hours of bonding with the baby in my pregnancy, this perfect birth and the recreation time postpartum, the breastfeeding, – every pregnant woman should have the chance to give birth in a red tent or enjoy the baby moon in red! That´s why pregnant women cannot only rent a birth pool for a home birth at our center, they also can rent the whole stuff for a Red Tent, can be 2,5 m x 2,5 m, or, if they want, 50 m². I would love to see a red umbrella-tent or some other solutions for an easy and not too exotic performance in the hospital (Doulas know what I mean ;-)), because I think this would be the perfect way to care for more privacy in labor….

I started to organize Red Tents in our Center (NGO/NPO for parents and children to support natural birth and parenthood in many ways)…. The first time 2009 we offered two weeks of Red Tent program, based on Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard´s inspiring book “Circle of Life”. We went through all the archetypes of women´s wheel of life –every day a new one. The day started with an introduction to the meaning of the archetype in the morning. The whole day there was a good mixture of open space and a program with leaded talking circles, short lectures, playful singing, dancing (wild and sweet), creative time to experiment with new arts and express your feelings, a slumber party with our little daughters and special massage for our own old mothers. We did “Let´s talk about sex” evenings and shared a lot of female wisdom with experts and our sisters in all ages. We could explore what women can be for each other, especially while they are going through their so called “blood mysteries”- menarche, birth, menopause. After two weeks we ended up with our visions about how we want to become old and die. We laughed a lot, cried a little bit and enjoyed being with women. The last day we closed the circle and celebrated the transformer in us. It was a well used chance to invite girlies and crones, who normally don´t come to a parents & child center and we really could take a look on the special needs and blessings of each lifetime.

While the Austrian Doula training (which I´m leading) I try to inspire the Doulas to see the Red Tent as a wonderful tool to work with women on every level. You need not to be an Expert to invite your girlfriends and clients to come to your red tent and feel joyfully how it works (yes, the red material works with it´s own magic – you can relax!). You need not to be an expert to create a space for YOU and allow women to come in when they need to be for their own– even it the space is tiny, it´s worth! BE the one who is inspiring other women to take their space! I´m thrilled about the huge potential of the Red Tent to bring together pregnant women (new clients and women who had a Doula f. e.) for sharing birth stories, do creative activities, chanting birth songs, showing birth films, the really good ones like “Orgasmic Birth”, do different kinds of bodywork. But I also love the meeting between the generations to understand them and f. e. how we were raised up…

For sure you are highly needed to talk open and positive about first blood, menstruation, birth, love and death (and of cause many other essential things and fun stuff). But don´t forget to offer blessing way parties, baby naming celebrations, a menarche party, …..So many opportunities really connected to our in-TENT-ion as Doulas…. if you are not the one to DO it, be the one who shares the idea, and I promise you – very soon you will meet the women you were waiting for to add their talents to yours and your circle will grow and shine and expand –because women are waiting for YOU to start!

As you see, my personal focus of the Red Tent is not only on Menstruation (although I love this topic, too) like in some Red Tent traditions. I enjoy the beauty and the many many roles in every women´s life and want to empower women of all ages to feel welcome, nurtured and treated with love. I can imagine how special YOUR Red Tent will be created and filled with energy…. let´s dream on, share methods of creating, building, let´s make a Red Tent Kit with the best ideas for celebrations – let us be the movement into more joy in sisterhood…!

For more information:

www.elysia.co.at

angelika@elysia.co.at

Angelika Rodler on FB

Töchter ELYSIA´s on FB

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Filed under birth, blood, Guest Blogger, healing, memory, moon, mooncycle, mother, motherhood, parenting, place, red tent, red tent experience, Reproductive Health, space, The Red Tent, Uncategorized

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.

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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

Birth, the Production Line

by Alisa Blanchard

Right now, the rights to my body are being sold
And I tumble like scraps into the trash can
Knowing my remaining worth is misplaced
Into the void of methane growth
Amassed by the systems
Pathologies and labels adorn my body
And stories of the correct way to be submissive
Return
As assaultive reminders accumulate
The fact I cannot be trusted with my own body
Apparently to question absolute authority
I must ransack and pillage my temple
Or completely sever ties to judicial reflection
Sterile images and threads
Weave around my body like braids
Captivating me in their hold
I am hard, clean and easy to read
Like numbers on a chart
Or curves on a monitor
Printed ink on paper
Leave no room for the mural on the wall,
The shelves of picture books and journals,
iPod full of songs,
That write complete story of me
And forever I remain a name spoken incorrectly
By eyes peering down
As I am strapped to the barricade of
Machine, tests, drugs, and games
Until I fully surrender my whole
To this wild experiment
Without voice
And kept warm in a blanket of shame.

http://amlika.wordpress.com/

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Filed under birth, Guest Blogger, motherhood, poem, poetry, Reproductive Health, women's stories

Female Mystique: The 3 Phases of Eve©

By Leslie Carol Botha


Maiden, Mother, Wise Woman ~ which one are you?

You are all three every month!

 

Most women are not aware of the sacred tri-phasic or triptych cycle they pass through each month. In fact, the importance of Triptych symbolism is lost on most people – yet it can be seen in ancient pyramids and temple architecture worldwide. Triptych wisdom is still visible in ancient ruins and has actually been garnered and perpetuated by western ‘secret’ societies.

triphasic

Triptych symbolism was abundant in the ancient worlds and actually became the symbol of an advanced universal religion practiced globally in antiquity and shared by ancient cultures with the same spiritual beliefs. It was also thought that the tri-phasic practice descended from a root source instead of evolving independently.

This universal religion was banned over 2,000 years ago with the advent of the Catholic Church and the shift from matriarchal societies to the existing patriarchy.

Bone plaque from Abri Blanchard, Sergeac, France

Bone plaque from Abri Blanchard, Sergeac, France

Although much of the writing about the triptych symbolism is steeped in patriarchal thinking – the source of this ancient religion lies within the womb of woman’s wisdom. It was our ancient foremothers who first noted the intrinsic significance between their menstrual cycles and the lunar cycle. This ‘ancient’ universal religion was a shared knowledge of living with the triphasic aspect of the lunar cycle – and since women menstruated together and their menstrual time was synchronically aligned with the lunar cycle – women became the fount head of this ancient religion; they were revered as Goddesses no less. Judy Grahn, in her 1993 book, Blood, Bread and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World, developed her hypothesis with a modern construct, when she stated,…”the menstruant, having the most direct connection with the lunar cycle, would have been the first to know; she had motive, method, and opportunity to be the originator of the lunar notion.”

Many moons ago, I intuited a concept called Female Mystique: The Three Phases of Eve©. This was before I understood the concept of the triptych symbolism. I noted that just as the moon passes through its three phases monthly, women pass through the three phases of their lives –maiden, mother, wise woman – just as they pass through the three phases of the menstrual cycle.

When these three phases line up the mythological lunar, psychological woman physical, mental and emotional characteristics also become aligned.

Female Mystique: The Three Phases of Eve©

Female Mystique: The Three Phases of Eve©

If women understood their sacred triphasic nature, their lives would make so much more sense. More importantly, women – and especially our adolescent daughters would learn how to trust their changing emotions and their behaviors – instead of all of us feeling like we have to control or be controlled because we do not trust or understand ourselves or each other.

This ancient symbolism is the sacred essence of our womanhood – and of the global universal religion that unified all cultures many moons ago. Herstorians and researchers have noted that the earliest rituals honored the menstrual cycle; that the blood of the womb nurtured new life.

Now we understand the significance of the menstrual cycle in relation to ancient symbolism. It is time to reclaim, to trust and to embrace that with which women have been graced – the eternal dance of the universe encompassed in our eternal cycling bodies and souls.

 

Source:

Written in Stone – Decoding the Secret Masonic Religion Hidden in Gothic Cathedrals and World Architecture, by Richard Cassaro

Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle, by Leslie Carol Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier- Batik

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A new book!

Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle was written for women who want to understand the sometimes, confusing physical and psychological changes they experience each month. It is also suggested reading for men who deal with hormonal women daily; and for educators, healthcare and social welfare professionals who support women of all ages that are struggling with physical and behavioral issues caused by hormonal changes. It is the product of a nine-years of research, analysis, and writing.

Purchase the book for $24.93 on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Your-Mind-Hormone-Cycle/dp/0989010104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374691726&sr=8-1&keywords=leslie+botha

Purchase the book for $24.93 on amazon

This richly illustrated, pioneering, book is co-authored by Leslie Carol Botha and H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik, with original graphics by Nicholas Batik. Medical researcher, H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik provides extensive clinical background to support the findings of this book. The conversational writing style makes it easy and compelling to read, while the richly footnoted text makes this a valuable resource for professional healthcare providers. The book explores on the very essence of a woman’s being — the fundamental nature of the female hormone cycle; and was written to fill the void of practical, menstrual health education that focuses on understanding the delicate mind/body connection — a connection that has the power to bring about health or disease in the body. Contrary to current medical thinking and pharmaceutical industry messaging that encourages women to deny, ignore, suppress and replace their natural hormone production with synthetic hormone birth control and hormone replacement therapy, Botha and Chevalier-Batik believe that the hormone cycle is the foundation of women’s health and well being. Modern medicine has promoted the concept of specialization, encouraging women to consult specialists to treat isolated aspects of our body and mind, rather than consider our body as an integrated system, and exploring the relationship of the hormone cycle with other cycling systems in our body. Creating health begins with a shift in this perspective to one that recognizes the whole body is greater than the sum of its parts; a shift that recognizes that health is our birthright and represents our natural state. Such a change in perception can change how we express vibrant health and inner peace. Using the tools and information provided in this book, women can learn to perceive symptoms as biometric feedback from our bodies about our diet, lifestyle and the state of our mental, emotional, and spiritual self. These symptoms are the “tell” for conditions such as: hormone imbalances, depression, mental confusion, exhaustion, autoimmune disorders, allergies, and reproductive disorders. The purpose of this book, is to help you tap into the magnificent intelligence of your body and interpret its profound language to finally understand your mind, mood, and hormone cycle. Using the tools and exercises provided you will learn to live with in your hormone cycle to prevent re-occurring gynecological problems and mental/emotional imbalances; Perhaps for the first time in your life, you will feel like you can reach your full potential by acknowledging your strength and who you truly are. It is our goal to open your eyes to the real you — a woman who can trust herself, has confidence in her actions, understands her feelings and knows how to create a fulfilling life by living with her hormone cycle With brilliant simplicity, the authors tie the menstrual cycle into the other natural cycles of the universe and to the Paleolithic wise women who tracked their cycles on antler bones. These wise women understood that menstruation was vital natural cycle that held power. These foremothers became the first mathematicians, agriculturists, and healers by applying their menstrual wisdom to their culture’s survival. It is imperative that we understand all of the cycles in our lives. Women must be pro-active in all aspects of their wellness. Education and the willingness to ask questions and demand answers is a start.

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Filed under ageing, blood, coming of age, growing up, Guest Blogger, Leslie Botha, menstruation history, mooncycle, mother, motherhood, PMS, Post Menopausal, transition, Understanding Your Mind

Coast to Coast Screenings

By Jayleigh Lewis

After a December hiatus, Isadora, filmmaker of the Red Tent Movie, Things We Don’t Talk About, was back in attendance at several movie screenings during January 2014.

First up was the Washington, D.C. premiere (one of two for the month, the other being the Kentucky premiere) on January 12th. Sponsored by Birch Moon, an emerging community healing space created by local woman Teresa Duncan, the event was a double feature with two screenings and two Red Tents held back to back. The basement of a home was transformed into a Red Tent space packed with attendees, many of whom were members of two Red Tent communities in the area (Bethesda, Maryland, and Arlington, Virginia, both of which were featured in the film). Isadora described the event as low-key and authentic, a gathering of women who enjoyed meaningful networking, good food, and relaxed socializing.

Later in the month, Isadora visited California and attended two more screenings. The first, on January 24th in Topanga Canyon, took place at a home within the canyon. Winding roads led attendees to the top of a mountain; getting to the screening was an adventure in itself! The Topanga Canyon Red Tent community (led by Megan Greene), which has been meeting in the area for the past three years, hosted the event. Twenty women enjoyed the combined screening and Red Tent gathering; these included women of Iranian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and Mexican descent, making it quite a diverse group. Isadora noted the beauty of hearing many different languages spoken in the Red Tent.

Red Tent Screening, Topanga, CA. Photo by iX-CheL

Red Tent Screening, Topanga, CA. Photo by iX-CheL

The women literally wove themselves together during the talking circle, using a ball of red yarn which they passed across and around, forming a web that grew as each woman spoke. Introducing herself by calling in the names of her matrilineal ancestors, every woman had an opportunity to share what was happening in her life through the lenses of joy and compassion, the themes of the gathering. This was especially poignant for Isadora, whose maternal grandmother passed away in December 2013. “I am Isadora, daughter of Teresa Moorehouse, daughter of Ella Knapp, daughter of Rita Haviland,” she said when it was her turn, affirming the abiding strength of the women whose love helped form the foundation of her life.

The love and strength of the mother-daughter bond was shown in another deeply immediate and tangible form when the mother of host Megan Greene, who is pregnant with her first child, shared with great pride and joy how good it feels to witness and be present with her daughter as she holds life within her body. Matrilineal links are not only something from the past; they are being forged all the time.

The second California screening took place the next day in Canoga Park, at a clubhouse within a retirement community. It was sponsored by the House of the Goddess, a women’s organization that also hosted the Goddess Spirit Rising conference in September 2013. Laura and Delphine (Duffy), leaders of the organization, met Isadora when she attended a Red Tent Movie screening at the conference and asked her to return for another screening for their community. Although the screening and following Red Tent was only attended by about 10 women, due to many members of the community being sick with the flu, Isadora described the experience as fun.

Canoga Park, CA Red Tent Screening.

Canoga Park, CA Red Tent Screening.

Some highlights include:

–One attendee, who is a belly dancer, taught and led a session of belly dance.

–Duffy shared a guided meditation CD she created, leading women through what it might be like to be inside a moon lodge or menstrual hut in ancient times. The CD was such a hit that Isadora was inspired to make it available for sale (coming soon), so more women can have the experience.

–Women participated in an activity seeking to turn the concept of “mean girls,” girls and women who engage in negative self-talk and corresponding destructive behavior, on its head. Phrases that encapsulated the mindset of a “mean girl,” such as, “I’m not good enough,” or, “I gossip about others to make myself feel better,” were placed in a bowl. When women drew them out, they offered a countering message for each, turning them into positive self-talk and constructive, empowering actions.

And that wraps up the January screenings; more screenings to come next month!

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", daughter, From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, Jayleigh Lewis, mother, motherhood, recent screenings, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie, women's spirituality, women's stories

Mom-Centric Micro-Economy

by Tracee Sioux

Woe is me! What’s a mother to do in this world? With all of the economic disparity and the craptastic economy and the completely un-mom-friendly corporate culture that keeps us from our littles? Whether single or married, mothers are discriminated against and can’t seem to manage a work-life balance and score equality. This could destroy the family as we know it.

Meh. I call this the Mythology of Working Motherhood and frankly, I find it to be a complete load of crap.

With Anna Koclanes, a future momprenuer preparing to use her MBA to create a business that allows for fluidity between her home and business.

With Anna Koclanes, a future momprenuer preparing to use her MBA to create a business that allows for fluidity between her home and business.

Corporate America can be a less-than-desirable way for women to work and mother and many companies are inflexible and dole out benefits about as freely as the pre-saved Scrooge. But, a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do, right?

Wrong. Here’s what I’m seeing. I’m seeing a Mom-Centric Micro-Economy emerge across America and beyond. It’s run by mother entrepreneurs who got tired of begging corporations to institute better policies. So. They Quit. They abandoned their careers in the traditional workplace. What was acceptable as single women—long hours, evenings and weekends, only average pay and benefits—quickly became completely unacceptable when Mama hormones kicked in.

These are smart women. Brilliant and creative women. They didn’t want to zone out in front of Barnie forever. They want brain candy, they want to express themselves. They want to use the freaking masters degree their still paying for in their monthly student loan payment. And they want to be there after school to take their kid to swim practice.

Rejecting the Either/Or choice that the media-ized Mommy Wars present as inevitable, these women have begun to do something revolutionary. They are inventing a new way of working that is fluid within their family lives. They launch companies using their gifts and talents. They schedule their business activities around their family activities.

It was slow-going at first. A struggle to figure it out. Most difficult when the littles are still at home pulling at your yoga pants, demanding attention. Still, they push on. Sending the invoices, scheduling the appointments, shipping the products. Business grows. They hire other mothers, other momprenuers, who work at home, brilliantly keeping their overhead low while stimulating the momconomy.

This is the path to economic power for mothers. It’s a compelling business model, which rewards mothers economically, while allowing them to Mom it Up! Controlled by neither corporate America or the government, the only limits on the business potential lie within the Mom herself. With potential unlimited, the Momprenuer is gaining clout, prestige and influence. Soon her demands will drive the rest of the country as more and more mothers realize that to control one’s own destiny truly is liberation that leads to economic stability. Young women, already, are watching the generation before them and preparing to follow suit—gaining experience and planning ahead for their own business ownership before the babies come along.

Power Up Momprenuers! This is how we save the world!

_____________________________

Reproduced with permission from http://thegirlrevolution.com

Tracee Sioux is a Law of Attraction Coach at Authentic Power Living, helping entrepreneurs manifest magic and attract miracles so they can Live on Purpose. Sign up for her newsletter at www.authenticpowerliving.com to receive a free ebook, 5 Steps to Creating a Dream Board that Really Works, contact her at traceesioux@gmail.com.

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Filed under Momprenuers, mother, motherhood, tracee sioux, women's businesses