Category Archives: place

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

A Yearning for Woman-space

by Lucy Pearce, The Happy Womb

I find myself yearning at this my moon time, for woman-space, for the rhythm of women, the flow. For rhythm. I find myself drawn to spirals and circles and bright colours.

I dream of a red tent, a yurt – a circle space of ornate decoration and luxuriant fabrics.Touching the earth, out in the night air. The owls hooting beyond. It is a primitive experience, a tribal memory that I have never had – one which modern day campsites or large festivals awaken but cannot fulfill.

A space where the women can gather. And sing together. And dance – silk scarves flowing in the air. Beating the drums, shaking the rattles as we shimmy our hips.

Lying on soft cushions, drinking tea. Laughing, crying. Colouring mandalas. Reading aloud to each other passages that inspire us. A fire flickering. A voice begins to sing. A sad song, of lost love and yearning. A poem is spoken and breaths are held.

Candle light, fairy lights, tea lights – soft, gentle, magical. Showing the softness of each face, each body. Their beauty and sensitivity.
Painting bellies, hands and feet with flowing henna designs.

Here we can howl like wolves, dance naked in the moonlight.

And be, just be. Connected, beautiful, complete.

Republished with permission by Lucy Pearce, The Happy Womb.

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Filed under Guest Blogger, memory, place, red tent experience

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

Red Tent Tele-Summit (free)

The Red Tent Movie is participating in the
Free Red Tent Tele-Summit

How would your life have been different if there was a Red Tent in your neighborhood when you grew up?

SUMMIT, Small, 30 experts

I bet an immediate answer to this question is emerging from the depth of your womb…

Since Anita Diamant wrote The Red Tent in 1997, women have awakened to our need to find places to go to when we flow. The time has come to give voice to women’s silent stories, to reverse cultural shame and taboos by finding the true depth, insight, and soul-nourishment inherent in our Menstrual Cycle!

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Watch the special video

that Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost created for the Tele-Summit.

In this exclusive video, Dr. Leidenfrost provides an in-depth response to the question, “how would your life have been different if there was a Red Tent in your neighborhood when you grew up?” and a unique behind-the-scenes look at the filmmaker’s own red tent experiences!

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my-video-tele-summit

February 1st – February 28

You need to Sign Up Now to reserve your spot!

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DeAnna-Sacramento-WEB

DeAnna, who is known as ‘A Womb-Visionary’, has crafted one-of-a-kind offering for today’s women:

The Red Tents In Every Neighborhood World Summit, an inspiring and empowering Online event for women.

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How it works?

  • It’s totally Free!
  • When you SIGN UP you will receive a DAILY link (for 28 days) to an inspiring short VIDEO including my video.
  • When you SIGN UP you will immediately receive DeAnna’s gift: the Red Tent Activation audio recording, and each Video Presenter, including me, will offer you a special gift from her Treasure Box of womb wisdom!

I created a video for the Red Tent Summit because I believe that the Red Tent movement is a tapestry of women’s Womb-Wisdom. I invite you to listen to your own unique womb, and to womb-voices of wise women on the cutting edge of a New Consciousness Paradigm, weaving together DeAnna’s vision of A Red Tent In Every Neighborhood!

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How to sign up?

  1. Click HERE to Sign Up: http://www.deannalam.com/summit-3/
  2. Confirm your sign up – by clicking a link in the email you’ll receive (look in spam folder if you don’t see it)
  3. Enjoy!

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Please help us spread the word:

forward this email to All your women friends.

The time has come for Red Tents In Every Neighborhood!

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", DeAnna L'am, From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, memory, place, red tent, red tent experience, red tent film, red tent movie, red tent temple, sacred space, space, The Red Tent, women's stories

How I made my Red Tent

by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD

In March 2012, I had a dream that I wanted every screening of “Things We Don’t Talk About” to be in a giant Red Tent that would travel around with me in a 2 suitcases and be big enough for up to 300 people. But how was this going to work logistically?

Red Tent at a screening

The filmmaker’s Red Tent at a screening of “Things We Don’t Talk About”

I have been a participant in the Red Tent movement since it began and I have helped set up many Red Tents and Red Tent Temples. But the set up always took a LONG time, with hours and hours of labor by numerous women. So how was I going to make it easy to create a huge Red Tent for a screening if it took so much time to create a small one for only 20 women? As I thought about it, one problem that always came up with building the Red Tent was the different size fabrics. The fabrics were often donated curtains, sheets, or yardage. Most yardage is 44 inches or 56 inches wide. While some of the pieces were very long, they were also very narrow and could not cover an entire wall.

How to create it?

I created large panels of fabric that were all the same size and could cover a wall very quickly and without much thought to the design (when it was being hung). So from March 2012 to May 2012, I had an opportunity to have a studio space at the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, a fabric museum, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while I was finishing my PhD and the film. It wasn’t really a studio space, it was more of an empty room with a large bulletin board so I could pin up the different fabrics and create the design for the panels. Almost all of the fabric that I used to create my panels where donated, found at the thrift store, or purchased cheaply on Ebay. The decorative materials that I purchased on Ebay were Indian Sari and Uzbek Suzani. Which were both large and inexpensive ways of adding beautiful fabrics to the plain yardage.

Having spent many summers with my grandmother, who was a talented quilter, I have some sewing and design skills. If this is not a talent you have, my suggestion is to reach out to your friends and family members. There must be someone in your community that can sew and that could help you. Basically the gist of it is to take all of the small pieces of fabric and sew them together in a pattern that you like so that it saves time when you put up your Red Tent. I have found that it takes about 5 minutes to put up one of my panels. For your space, wouldn’t it be nice if you had a beautiful Red Tent that could go up in about 20 minutes or less?

My panels are 15 feet wide by 13 feet tall. I chose 13 feet tall for myself because most ceilings at either 8 feet or 12 feet and I wanted to make sure that my panels would drape on the floor a little bit if I was in a 12 foot space. As for why I created my panels 15 feet wide, that was the size of my bulletin board, but you can chose any width. I would suggest maybe at least 10 feet wide.

Here are examples of some of my Red Tent panels.

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To see more example of what the panels look like in different screening venues click here.

How to Hang it?

The second problem that I found with setting up numerous Red Tents was how to hang the fabric. Most groups use thumbtacks or staples to hang the fabric on the wall. But this was a not a good solution for me because I want to do 400 screenings of “Things We Don’t Talk About.” If I put a thumbtack into my fabric that many times it would shred the fabric after just a few events. I also wanted to be gentle on the space and not put a million holes in the wall. So I put grommets along the top edge of all of my panels at intervals of 1 foot. So there are 15 grommets in each panel.

Grommets

Grommets

I hang my Red Tent using 1 of 2 methods:

  • My favorite is using a 3” binder ring, which I purchased from Office Depot. I put the binder ring through the grommet and then I clip or hang the ring onto things in the space like the grid for a drop ceiling, poles, wall sconces, crown molding, nails already in the space, window frames, etc.
  • My other solution is to put a thumbtack into the wall and then hang the grommet on the thumbtack. I don’t often use this method because I don’t like to leave holes in the wall, but when this is my only option I have found that a thumbtack every 3 feet is sufficient.

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How Women hold Space for one another : Acknowledgment as an act of the Sacred

by Hollie B.

lunation.com.au

I give thanks to my dear Sister who agreed to my sharing of this story. I have chosen not to use her name. Because that’s not what’s important in this Story. So for now, she is called ‘this Woman’.

This is a Story about why I believe all Women benefit from sharing Story in a Red Tent. I don’t so much believe that every Woman needs to speak to share their Story in the Red Tent. But each Woman may find healing through Being present with shared Stories.

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I know this Woman who is employed in a place where She sees the absolute worst in human behaviour. Anything awful You can imagine, this Woman has probably seen it, heard of it, or been exposed to a story of it in some way. I’m not exaggerating, and I’m not trying to bring You into a yuk Space, I just want to paint a very clear picture of how different this Woman’s everyday life is compared to many of us.

She has an awesome partner. In this case, her partner is a man, but it is not his gender that is important. What I take from this story is that her husband is there for her in the sense that anything awful that she needs to download from work, she can share with him and she knows he can take it. He works there too.

Home life is good for this Woman. Her children have grown and they are doing their own thing. She celebrates their maturity, knowing that their Journey is their own. Anything that causes stress from work, gets talked about before coming home, and left on the road. In other words, she doesn’t bring it home with her. She has a relationship with her husband, that although has had pain and grief in the past, is healed and in an Awesome Space now. She’s done Circles for healing her menarche and healing her mother-issues and letting go of the past and… In other words, right now, even though there are things that bother her in her worklife, and she knows there will still be Life Work to do, yet she feels fairly sorted.

Is that to suggest that this Woman doesn’t need an Experience such as a Red Tent? Like, she’s fairly sorted so she doesn’t need to sit around with other Women to talk about ‘issues’. She’s got her husband afterall. If he’s so Awesome, why would she need to go along to a Red Tent? She’s already got understanding and a soundboard for whenever she does have an issue. She feels supported at home…

Well, recent experiences have taught me that actually yes, she does still need the Red Tent Experience. This is not something I’ve come to on my own by the way. This isn’t something I’m coming at from my place of advice and an ‘I know what You need attitude’. Actually, it comes straight from this Woman’s mouth.

But the reason might not be what you’re thinking.

This Woman, wants to Be witness to other Women’s stories. She understands that everyone needs a place to share – to vent – to speak – to let go – and everyone needs to feel heard in that.

This Woman does not believe that She has ‘no issues’. But she does feel that the ‘everyday’ things she is haunted with are not for the ears of anyone outside of her industry. It’s not about being selfish. It’s not about coming and hearing everyone else’s ‘stuff’ and not adding anything to the energy. Actually, it’s about finding the Right place (for her) to share her stories, and entering the Sacred Space so that it is held Sacred. For this Woman, she feels depth in being the Witness. She isn’t there to give advice, or story-compete (Oh Yes I’ve seen lots of that), nor is she in the Red Tent to suppress some sort of need to feel special by being different.

Put simply, this Woman finds depth in the Work of witnessing other Women’s stories. In the act of acknowledgement – as witness to other Women and where they are in the moment – she becomes a Sacred Keeper of Tradition and Compassion. When she has something to say, she does. But for the most part, She helps hold the Space. She sits listening, without judgement – accepting of the Story as it is. She nurtures Women who do need to share. And She is content to Be.

Recently a number of events played out in front of me that really anchored this understanding for me. I saw many aspects of this Story. I heard the words ‘I’m fine’ while watching the body language that said ‘don’t fucken push me cos I will break – and I don’t want to break right now!’ I felt the acceptance of this Space while watching other Women go on the finger pointing mission of trying to ‘help’ and offer advice. I saw the break down of safe and Sacred energy with that pushing. I felt the pain of this Woman in not feeling accepted for where she needed to Be with other Women. I felt the distrust from Women who held expectations about sharing. The next day I felt Truth and Realness pour from the heart of this Woman as we shared together how that happened and where she would have liked it to Be. And it was in that conversation that I got clear around one very important aspect of the Red Tent.

I understood already that Women need to speak. I understood already that for a long time Women have not been heard. I have also noticed often that there are times when Women just talk for the sake of it. I have noticed that even when You suggest as a facilitator that everyone can keep their opinions and advice to themselves, and just let a Woman Be in her Space, they just can’t help themselves giving advice and opinions and cutting People off. I have noticed that some Women have a need to agree and say ‘You’ll be right’ and ‘You’re strong’ and ‘You can do it’ in response to another Woman’s Story. And I’ve noticed that this is not only un-helpful, it’s fucking disrespectful.

Red Tent

My Red Tent and Women’s Spaces aren’t for feel good pep-talks. I facilitate Spaces for Women to Be. And to feel supported in that Being. In these Spaces it doesn’t matter who we are at home. What we do at work. What we have to do tomorrow. We just get to Be exactly as we are – in whatever Space – in that moment – without apologies. And we get to do it in a supported Space.

And what I became clear around, thanks to this Woman, is that I really want for the Red Tent Experiences that I facilitate for Women to feel the Power of sharing Stories, simply through Being Witness.

And then that got me thinking (it’s fairly on-the-go in my mind – when thinking is on, it’s really on until clarity is found). Although the Red Tent Experience happens in its own way, and Women share whatever they need in relation to that day, that moment; there’s still some things that some of us need to heal – and we don’t necessarily have a safe Space to do this in. Some of those ‘issues’ are older than ‘this moment and this day’, and we’re not necessarily sure how to bring them up. A ‘general’ Red Tent for sharing, although beauty-full and healing, may not always get to the deepest seat of what we need to heal.

It’s a bit daunting to bring up our miscarriages and our terminations and our divorce and how to raise our sons and daughters and our mental illness and our mother issues and our body image perceptions and… in a space full of Women who we have never met, or whom we only see every now and then. It’s particularly daunting to suddenly bring out the deep Stories of grief and loss that have been pushed down for a long time, or never given a Space. For example, it’s not easy to start talking about the abortion You never dealt with emotionally ten years ago, when the Woman next to You is talking about how she loves being a parent.

I always find it so deeply moving to hear stories from Women about things I’ve never experienced. Whether the Story is about joy or loss, it is the difference that I find mySelf inspired by. I feel honoured when a Woman shares something new to me. That is the journey of the Witness. It is quite beauty-full.

The essence of the Red Tent is the commonality of Being Woman. Always in the Story, even when we have not had the same experiences, it is the sharing that moves us. In one Woman’s Story of pain or hope or joy or loss, we find something of ourSelf. And we grow. That is True healing. That is how we fill our cup. Whether You are the Story-teller or the Witness. There is something for every Woman in the Red Tent.

And so, this leads us to the renewed, improved and fully awesome Red Tent Experience of 2013. We are diving deep. We are creating Space for Stories with intention. We are allowing room for Women to share and to respond authentically. We are opening a doorway for Women to Witness and find Truth around the Way we speak and respond. And we are Working with the Red Tent, to simply Be.

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", friendship, growing up, healing, Hollie B., international, memory, mother, place, red tent, red tent experience, ritual, sacred space, space, story

The Spiral Within

By Charlotte Elaine

From the earliest of our days we have been cradled by the rocking motion of the feminine. The vast prehistoric oceans of our Earth were stirred and moved by the Moon’s power. The waters of life bubbling and churning as if contained in a mighty cauldron. Life on Earth in its earliest and most delicate stages was formed in this place of magick, mystery, and power. This incredible force, which brings forth creation from chaos, is the magick of the spiral. As eons went on, life continued to turn, and the moon continued to sway the seas. During this beautiful time of alchemy and creation the feminine evolved to carry the sea, and tides, within her body. The menstrual cycle holds within it in the sovereignty and might of the spiral. All powers of Earth, Sea, and Sky, are nestled deep within the womb.

Women are sacred vessels of this power, and our bodies with all of their cycles are a testament to this. The patriarchal societies that have dominated this world for so long have attempted to remove Women from this natural place of power. Women have forgotten the fierceness of the tidal wave that roars in their bellies. We have been taught for centuries that our power is a place of shame. It is unclean, bothersome, something to be rid of. However, within the Earth there is now again a stirring; a shifting. Women are beginning to remember the power the flows within them and they want to embrace it. They want to heal, to grow.

It is for this reason that the Red Tent has returned. Women need a place to commune together, to cry, to scream, to feel safe. The atmosphere of a Red Tent is that of healing, acceptance, awakening, and empowerment for women. It is a place where women can go to reclaim the magick of the spiral within.

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Filed under memory, moon, place, red tent, red tent experience, ritual, space, The Red Tent, transition

Beneath the Red Tent

By Jacqueline Riquez

The first time I found myself in a Red Tent, it was like a bolt of electricity : very powerful and hard to ignore ! And yet at the same time there was something so evident, so obvious about this experience that I knew I had tapped into something that went back to the Beginning, to a time before my knowing. I’ve had the feeling before, carrying water from a well with another woman, this intense flash of vestigial memory, the strongest sense of déjà-vu that one can imagine. That night in the dim light of the Red Tent I heard women speaking the strongest truths that spoke to the depths of my soul. There was talk of moon-blood and the words seemed to open a dam for me… I left that night with my mind racing and though I got home past midnight, it was hours later before sleep could claim me. ‘I must make my own Red Tent, this is what I have to do.’ It was like a clarion call – very powerful and hard to ignore!

I should explain that the Tent I went to here in France is really in a tent, though that one was kind of basic. My own tent borrowed the same concept and then went wild from there : don’t think of a tent for camping, think of a sumptuous nomadic tent, with cushions, blankets, candlelight, draped silks and an air of decadence, as though a harem of magnificent women were about to descend – and they do! It’s 9 feet square and 3 feet high at the sides, going up to 4 feet in the center, and though it’s a tent, it stays indoors. About 11 of us can fit in there at a time without it being uncomfortable.  I started making it in the days that followed that very first Red Tent. I sewed and sewed and sewed, a good half mile of thread. My baby was just learning to roll over on her side and I would place her on the floor at the far end of the room, rush to my machine at the other end and sew like a Fury, looking over my shoulders as she rolled her way giggling down the room towards me. As soon as she arrived I’d take her back to the other end of the room and we’d start over. My first tent was sewn with my baby girl hot on my heels. My second tent, even more beautiful, was inaugurated last weekend. I found some fabric in a thrift store that I fell in love with and knew it had to become my Red Tent. Every piece of fabric came from yard sales and thrift stores and I delight in knowing that all of this material has already traveled and lived other lives.

Something about that warm, sacred space invites intimacy. Women often say with the conviction of those who know that it’s like being inside a womb. Tongues loosen, guards drop and we can all lay down our loads. I’m not great in small spaces, never have been, and other women who’ve come to the Tent feel the same, yet there is something about that deep red womb space that defies all claustrophobic comparisons : in here we feel contained, not closed in, safe not suffocated.  I begin by reminding everyone that what is said within the Tent remains in the Tent.  I invite them to share briefly what they’re bringing with them : no-one is obliged to talk but to honor the energy of the group everyone is invited to say where they’re at – ‘I’m having a hard time right now and I’m not sure I’m going to talk much’ – that’s fine. We fix a time to end the Tent together and then we’re off : I have rarely needed to get the discussion going nor wrest back the conversation from someone talking too much.  No talking stick is required. I help things along if needed but I don’t run the show though I do make and serve the tea, not to mention the home-made crackers and cookies and the essential chocolate supply. The talk just flows : sometimes around our moon-blood, sometimes birth, sometimes sex : whatever comes is right. At the end we wind a red ribbon round our wrists as a reminder of our sacred connection. As I type here, there are still two ribbons on my wrist from two Tents over the last months : I am still connected to 20 other women via red satin.

I schedule the Tents every three weeks so that after four tents I’ve covered every phase of the moon. This seems to be more ‘democratic’ since we don’t all bleed in sync anymore. The energy that comes from the different moon-times is tangible : at Full Moon we’re often thoroughly over-excited and channeling some very sexy energy, we laugh more, sometimes until the tears are streaming down our faces ; at the Dark of the Moon we are quieter, more reflective and the Dark of our own natures emerges. If I contribute anything, it’s nudging women towards an awareness of their own seasons, to connect them with those of the moon, but also to the seasons of the solar year and those of a woman’s life.  Towards feeling the rush of energy that I felt just recently: I was in the Fall of my cycle (pre-menstrual), with the moon waning, the leaves were reddening on the trees and here I am, 42 years old, in the Fall of my life as a woman, done having babies but still revelling in all the fruits of the summer.  This is what I feel so strongly in my life when I have all four elements lined up like that – the profound feeling of being where I am meant to be.

I fill up the thermoses with hot water for the endless cups of tea and infusions we will drink, I burn sage and Palo Santo and lay out the candles, plump the cushions one last time. I breathe deeply and murmur my prayer : ‘to the fire above and the earth below, to the air that folds around us and the river that runs through us, to our Father the Sky and our Mother the Earth, to the cool glow of our Lady Moon and the warm caress of the sun, to the bonds of kin that hold me close, to all that I am a part of and to all that is a part of me, I bring myself to you. We are all one relation. ‘ I am ready now. I rise to invite the women waiting in the other room to join me beneath the silken skirts of the Red Tent. This is where we are meant to be.

www.entente-feminine.com
http://ententefeminine.wordpress.com

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Filed under Jacqueline Riquez, memory, place, red tent, red tent experience, red tent temple, ritual, space, The Red Tent, Uncategorized

Sous la Tente Rouge

par Jacqueline Riquez

(We will feature the English translation of this story in the next post in 2 weeks).

La première fois que je me suis retrouvée dans une Tente Rouge, c’était comme recevoir une décharge électrique : très puissant et difficile à ignorer! Et en même temps il y avait quelque chose de si évident, si frappant, dans cette expérience, que j’avais la conviction intime d’avoir contacté quelque chose qui remontait à l’Origine, bien avant la connaissance. J’avais déjà eu ce sentiment-là, en portant de l’eau d’un puits avec une autre femme, un flash intense de mémoire atavique, le plus profond sentiment de déjà-vu imaginable. Ce soir-là, sous la lumière tamisée de la Tente Rouge, j’ai entendu des femmes livrant les vérités les plus puissantes, qui résonnaient au plus profond de mon âme.  Elles évoquaient le sang des lunes et les mots semblaient ouvrir un barrage en moi… Je suis partie cette nuit-là  l’esprit dynamisé et bien que je sois rentrée à minuit passé, il se passades heures avant que le sommeil ne m’emporte. ‘Je dois fabriquer ma propre Tente Rouge, c’est ce que je dois faire.’ C’était comme un appel au clairon : très puissant et difficile à ignorer!

Je devrais expliquer que la Tente Rouge à laquelle j’ai assisté ici en France se passait littéralement dans une tente, même si celle-là était plutôt basique. Pour ma propre tente, j’ai emprunté la même conception et puis je me suis laissée aller dans la fantaisie : n’imaginez pas une tente pour le camping, mais plutôt une tente somptueuse de nomades, remplie de coussins, de couvertures, de bougies, de soies drapées et un air de décadence, comme si un sérail de femmes magnifiques allaient débarquer – et c’est le cas! Elle fait 3 mètres sur 3, un mètre de haut sur les côtés et 1,40m au centre et même si c’est une tente, elle reste à l’intérieur. On tient à 11 personnes dedans pour rester confortable. J’ai commencé à la fabriquer dans les jours qui suivirent cette toute première Tente Rouge. J’ai cousu et j’ai cousu encore, presque un kilomètre de fil rouge. Ma petite apprenait tout juste à rouler sur le côté et je la posais par terre à un bout de la pièce, puis je courais à ma machine à l’autre bout et là, je cousais comme une Furie, en regardant par-dessus mon épaule tandis qu’elle roulait en rigolant vers moi. Dés qu’elle arrivait, je la ramenais à l’autre bout du salon et on recommençait. Ma première tente s’est cousue pendant que ma fille était à mes trousses. Ma deuxième Tente, encore plus belle, a eu son inauguration il y a une semaine. Je suis tombée amoureuse d’un tissu trouvé à Notre Dame des Sans-Abri et je savais qu’il était destiné à ma Tente Rouge. Chaque tissu était chiné dans des vide-greniers, à Notre-Dame ou à Emmaüs et je me réjouis de savoir que toutes ces étoffes ont déjà voyagé et  vécu d’autres vies.

Il y a quelque chose dans cet espace chaleureux et sacré qui invite l’intimité. Les femmes disent souvent, avec la conviction d’initiées, que c’est comme si elles se retrouvaient dans un utérus. Les langues se délient, les défenses se  relâchent et nous pouvons toutes déposer nos fardeaux. En général, je n’aime pas être dans des espaces confinés et  d’autres femmes qui sont venues sous la Tente avaient la même difficulté. Or il y a quelque chose dans cet espace matriciel d’un rouge profond qui refuse toute comparaison claustrophobe :  on se sent contenu mais pas confiné, sécurisé mais pas suffoqué.  Je commence en rappelant à toutes que ce qui se dit sous la Tente, reste sous la Tente. Je les invite à partager brièvement ce avec quoi elles viennent : personne n’est obligé de parler mais par respect pour l’énergie du groupe chacune est invitée à dire où elle en est – ‘ça ne va pas très fort pour moi aujourd’hui et je ne sais pas si je vais parler beaucoup’ – cela peut s’entendre. On convient d’une heure de fin ensemble et puis c’est parti : c’est rare que je doive lancer la discussion ou empêcher quelqu’un de trop parler. Il n’y a pas besoin de bâton de parole. Je facilite si besoin mais je ne dirige pas, bien que je serve du thé, des gâteaux faits-maison et un stock essentiel de chocolat. La parole coule : des fois nous parlons de nos lunes, de l’accouchement, de sexe : ce qui vient est juste. A la fin, nous faisons passer un ruban rouge autour de nos poignets pour nous rappeler notre lien sacré. Alors que je tape ce texte, il reste encore à mon poignet des rubans des Tentes de ces derniers mois : je suis encore reliée aux 20 autres femmes par ce satin rouge.

Je propose des Tentes Rouges toutes les trois semaines, afin de visiter toutes les phases de la Lune au bout de quatre séances. Cela me paraît plus ‘démocratique’ vu que nous n’avons plus nos Lunes toutes ensemble. L’énergie qui découle de ces différentes phases est parfois tangible : à la Pleine Lune, nous sommes souvent assez fébriles, excitées, canalisant des énergies assez sexuelles, nous rions jusqu’aux larmes ; à la Nouvelle Lune nous sommes plus calmes, plus pensives, la face cachée de nos propres natures émerge. Si je contribue à quelque chose, c’est d’encourager les femmes à prendre conscience de leurs propres « saisons » et de les relier à celles de la Lune, mais aussi aux saisons de l’année solaire ainsi que celles de leurs vies de femme. J’ai pu ressentir cette incroyable connexion avec les cycles de la vie très récemment : j’étais dans l’automne de mon cycle (pré-menstruelle), la Lune était décroissante et à la fin de son cycle, les feuilles flamboyaient aux arbres environnants, et à 42 ans, je me sens à l’automne de ma vie de femme – j’ai fini de faire des bébés mais je vis toute la plénitude de cette période. Voici ce que je ressens si fortement dans ma vie quand ces quatre éléments sont alignés ainsi : le sentiment profond d’être où je dois être.

Je remplis les thermos d’eau chaude pour les innombrables tasses de thé et de tisane que nous boirons ensemble, je brûle de la sauge et du Palo Santo, je prépare les bougies, je redonne leur forme aux coussins une dernière fois… Je respire profondément et je murmure ma prière : « Au feu par-dessus et à la terre par-dessous, à l’air qui nous entoure et la rivière qui coule en nous, à notre Père le Ciel et notre Mère la Terre, à la lumière fraîche de Notre-Dame la Lune et la caresse chaude du soleil, aux liens affectifs qui me contiennent, à tout ce dont je fais partie et à tout ce qui fait partie de moi : je me présente à vous et vous invoque. Nous sommes tous un seul être. » Maintenant je suis prête. Je me lève et j’invite les femmes qui attendent dans l’autre pièce à me rejoindre sous les jupes soyeuses de la Tente Rouge. Nous sommes où nous devons être.

www.entente-feminine.com
http://ententefeminine.wordpress.com

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Coming Home to Red

"Coming Home to Red" a watercolor by Alma Dell Smith

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