Category Archives: space

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

Return To The Red Tent

by Teresa Maria Bilowus

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

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

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

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

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

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

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

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

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

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

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

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

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

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

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

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

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

So is the Red Tent part of the feminist movement?

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

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Photograph © Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Copyright Teresa Maria Bilowus 2014 All Rights Reserved.

 About the Author

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

Teresa can be contacted at: returntotheredtent@gmail.com

 

For further information on the Red Tent please visit:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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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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Creating “Safe Space” in your Red Tent

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", From the filmmaker, how to create a Red Tent, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, red tent, space, Video of the Month Clip

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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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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Talking about the things we don’t talk about

By Hollie B.

Republished with permission from Lunation

You may know dear heart, that I hold Sacred Space with my SisStar Rachel each month for the Canberra Red Tent Experience. What You may not know is that for the past few months I’ve been in a ‘rough patch’ in terms of how I feel about continuing this Red Tent Space.

And in keeping with the theme of Things We Don’t Talk About, I’m gonna share some things with You here. I will say though, that these are my thoughts, and don’t reflect Rachel at all. This is all about me!

When Rachel and I decided to come together to present Canberra Red Tent Experience this year we wanted to honour the terrific film by Isadora Leidenfrost – Red Tent Movie : Things We Don’t Talk About because this groundbreaking media has the potential to heal communities throughout the world. I’ve been following the making of the film and helping support it with financial donations over the past few years and I was so freaking ecstatic when it finally came out.

What strikes me most about this film, even after seeing it four times now, is the Power in hearing women speak their truth. The Red Tent provides a Space, not simply for Women to connect and talk – but IN MY INDIGO OPINION really GOOD Red Tent Experience also provides a Space where Women can be utterly authentic in their feeling – something that we all know is extremely lacking in our society.

(as a side note, yes I do feel that there is such a things as really crap Circle experience too but I’ll save that for another day. Needless to say, I’m incredibly passionate about providing GOOD Circle Experience and always have been)

So our Vision for the Red Tent Experience in Canberra was to create a Space of deep healing where Women could come to speak not only from an authentic place but also to specifically have a chance to reflect upon stories in their life that are usually not talked about. You know, the stuff that’s not polite dinner conversation : like the grief of losing a child, like how it feels to go through life after having been raped, like what being a mother really means to You as an individual, like how You felt when You chose to have an abortion – and how You feel now, like what makes You feel honoured… The deep stuff the stuff that is in our very essence that we’ve never been able to share.

Red Tent Circle with Hollie B. and Rachel Vines - Canberra | Women's Circles

Now this kind of sharing is apparently not for everyone. At least, some people think its not for them. Sharing yourself so fully is frightening. But I know without a doubt that it is the most empowering experience of all. To be utterly raw with yourself in a Space where you are not judged and ARE accepted for being You – is something that creates such healing and freedom.

I write this post as a Space to express that same essence for mySelf. You get my Truth here. I’m a Sagittarian Rooster Indigo Witch (not that I really think labels are necessary ha!) I’ve always spoken about the things others won’t – even as a little kid. I’ve been called tactless, raw, passionate and volatile. It all means the same thing to me – I’ve got the courage to say what I feel. If only more people did!

And that was the reason for this year’s Red Tent Experience. I wanted to provide a rad Space where Women could say what they feel. I’ve been bungin on about going deep with the feeling for long enough now, I suppose in a way this year’s Red Tent series was my final call to arms for Women – to see if they really can make good with their Truth. To see whether all this work I’ve been doing over the years is worth it – to find out whether all the readers and commenters and People who pertain to be Real – are really willing to Be Real.

In our Red Tent Experience there’s no tricks. There’s no special ceremony or clearings or anything fancy that needs to happen. We don’t have a formula for our Circle casting or a specially designed workbook to get through your issues. It’s just a safe Space created by caring People with a strong commitment to the Infinite, unbound Self. Rachel and I have a combined total of over 30 years experience in holding Women’s Space and we take the responsibility of providing the Red Tent extremely seriously – and personally. It can be heart breaking when only 2 people are booked into the Circle, but it is always a lesson in trusting the process. This year I’ve had to get even more clear than ever before about why I’m holding the Red Tent. I’ve had to ask the dreaded question “What’s in this for me?”

I say dreaded question because it is apparently not very appropriate to think about selfish pursuits when you are providing ‘spiritual service’. Like apparently it’s an ‘ego’ thing to think that you should either make money or gain personal healing through a service that is provided to the community. Well I’m here to tell a you darling heart that THAT is a complete load of crap. Because if you’re not getting something from it too, then you’re wasting your time. Life is about YOU. Not about them. We’re here to do our work, and if what you’re doing isn’t giving You what You need, find something that does. P.S. Money is something we all need.

So that’s kind of been my thinking over the past few months. Why am I traveling an hour each way, driving home in the middle of the night on country roads, coming to a Circle for 2 or 3 attendees? What’s in this for me? I’m not making any money. I’m tired and wiped out the next day from the late drive. And I’m connecting with awesome Women who I can see any time because they’re also my friends. You see dear reader, I was all in the head about this. I was trying to make up rational sense of the experience of freeing the Self. Bah!

Do You know what else? That whole 2 or 3 attendee thing only happened once! Often we would only have a couple of people booked in at the start of the week, but by the time the Thursday rolls around, there’s always a pile more bookings. It’s frustrating for organising, but it is the nature of our Canberra culture undoubtedly. Everyone has a busy story.

Red Tent Circle with Hollie B. and Rachel Vines - Canberra | Women's Circles

And then it happened. I gave it over. I let go of the experience and decided to let it be what it will be. I came to the Circle as an equal participant without thinking like a facilitator. I didn’t prepare anything. I didn’t put ‘any effort’ in and just brought myself. And there were way more than 3 attendees! And the words and the tears spilled out and the Women heard me and responded with their own deep Selves and my heart opened and I BECAME the Circle. And I realised that that’s what I’m getting from it.

This experience of the Red Tent is more than what words and rationale can make of it. It is a deep healing experience. It is a growth of empathy and compassion that I wasn’t even aware was missing – and each month it grows more. Being in the Red Tent allows me to question my concerns and puts things into perspective. Even when the theme doesn’t seem that it is related to what’s going on in my own life, I find the commonality that links me with other Women and it opens the gateway to the Space I need healing most in this moment. The Power of this is beyond Power. It is a fierce Primal energy that is Women coming together in their absolute Truth. And I need this like I need air and water and sun. I need to hear the stories of other Women. And I need to share mine.

My experience tells me that when individual Women experience this kind of healing, brought on by no one else’s doing but our own opening of Self, we have a greater Power in our own lives. The healed individual takes their healing out to the world, and is an active part of healing entire communities, simply for having been authentic with her feelings.

For some women it is terrifying. Some of these stories have been laying under the surface, softly – and sometimes not so softly – brewing and bubbling under the covers. The woman may feel like she never had had a safe space to tell her story. Sometimes she hasn’t wanted to talk about her feelings for fear of upsetting people she cares about. She’s never been able to express her feelings for the threat of being told to toughen up, or ‘its about time you moved on’ or whatever other well meaning advice others will give. You see, in a Red Tent Experience, we don’t give advice. We listen. We open. We cry with each other and our reality shifts. We learn things about the world we could never imagine.

Compassion and empathy grow.

Through hearing the stories of other women we heal. I have been witness to some absolutely tragic and horrific stories. I have sat with women as they shed the years of holding onto the fine details of stories too painful for anyone else to hear. I’ve felt the pain of a woman’s heart as I rub her back and her tears spill on the floor. Women who come to be witness in the Circle inevitably find a similarity in a story to something that might otherwise seem unrelated. But it is enough to trigger in her the release of her own pain. And the floodgates open. And healing occurs.

And do You know? We don’t always cry. Sometimes we laugh. I’ve laughed with women at the sheer absurdity and joy of life. I’ve heard filthy jokes in Circle. Women fart too! We heal with our laughter as much as our tears.

I am so eternally grateful for the Red Tent Experience and the Women who attend month after month, as well as the Women who float in and out, as well as the Women who still haven’t quite mustered up the courage to come along yet! I see now that the things that have always been a part of me continue to be a strong aspect of my contribution. I contribute with service to All Living Things by doing that which fills me, fuels me and reminds me why I’m alive. As one of the Women said to me after last month’s Circle, YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU. And she was right. The only thing I didn’t see until that moment is that it always has been working for me, perfectly.

Maia Nie Heya.

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