I need your help…I’m getting married in late August 🙂 and it’s costing a lot more money then we would like. So in an effort to free up some inventory, pay some wedding bills & give you an AWESOME deal on 18 different scarfs + help 3 women’s businesses in the Red Tent community…. I am giving you a Buy 1, Get 1 Free offer + free shipping. It’s a $25 scarf. So for $25 you get 2, plus I pay the $8 shipping! It’s a $58 value. To get yours: http://www.redtentmovie.com/store.html
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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:
Angelika Rodler on FB
Töchter ELYSIA´s on FB
I really love this speech given by Emma Watson which she gave to the United Nations. Leave a comment and let me know what you think about what it means to be a feminist.
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.
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.
By Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD
To begin this analysis of Red Tents, it is important to define what the Red Tent is. First and foremost, The Red Tent (1997) is a novel by Anita Diamant that retells the biblical rape story of Dinah. “The Rape of Dinah” (Genesis, chapter 34) was recounted not by Dinah, but by her brothers. Diamant provided a fictional feminist retelling of the tale, giving Dinah her own voice. She also gave the women a menstrual hut, a form of women’s community. The book is presented through Dinah’s eyes and those of the women around her. The Red Tent is rooted in its feminist retelling of this ancient biblical story, in which the idea of a menstrual hut has struck a cord with modern women.
The Red Tent novel originally did not have a great impact on women’s lives. This began to change when the author herself initiated a word-of-mouth campaign by giving copies away to Rabbis, female Christian leaders, and independent booksellers. This approach proved successful, and by 2002 The Red Tent had become a New York Times bestseller and a publishing phenomenon. The book has since been published in twenty-five countries and translated into twenty languages.
What is a Red Tent?
The “Red Tent” is many things to many people. It is a womb-like red fabric space, it is a place where women gather, it is an icon, and it is a state of mind—all concepts inspired by Diamant’s book. Some women create red fabric spaces specifically to honor their menstruation. Others create spaces where they can take care of themselves, promote women’s conversations, and/or hold workshops and other events for women.
The “Red Tent Temple” is both a place and a grassroots movement founded by ALisa Starkweather to further expand the notion that a Red Tent Temple can be a place where women gather to honor all stages of womanhood. These spaces are technically Red Tent Temples, but they share many similar functions with other Red Tents. Many participants use the terms Red Tent and Red Tent Temple interchangeably. DeAnna L’am is another contributor to the Red Tent movement. She founded “Red Tents in Every Neighborhood.”
For many women the Red Tent is a sacred space, but it does not proclaim any one spiritual or religious practice. It is important to note, however, Starkweather’s Red Tent Temple Movement was established within the Women’s Spirituality movement, so many women who have created Red Tent Temples in their communities have incorporated elements of their goddess or pagan spiritual practices. A sacred space can be defined as a natural or human-made environment where religious or spiritual experiences take place and where rituals are performed. They are also places where one can go to meditate or pray and they may be considered personally special or profound. Susan Hale (Sacred Space, Sacred Sound, 2007) said, “a sacred space is temenos, a Greek word meaning an enclosure that makes it possible to enter into a relationship with a greater reality. Entering into sacred space, one crosses a threshold and moves from chronos, human time and space, into kairos, eternal time.” Through my own observations of Red Tents, it is apparent to me that when women enter, they enter sacred space.
While the original function of the biblical Red Tent in Diamant’s book had to do with women gathering following pregnancy and during menstruation, the contemporary practice of creating a separate space is not about ostracism. It is a spiritual practice, a sacred woman’s place, an enjoyable and non-judgmental space, and part of a women’s movement. The book was a tool that helped women reshape their relationships with each other and gave them a specific vehicle for coming together.
by Teresa Moorehouse
The drum beats, the dance begins, slowly at first, as the women take into their hearts the sight of each other. The red textiles defining the safe space the red tent creates, and that each shall occupy, engages them in the curative feminine force…and wisdom gathers them around her…and the circle dance begins. You think I can’t claim myself from the hold matter has on me? Well perhaps not, but then I have my sisters and their energy supports all women who call their power in. One by one each will summon up courage and strength from within witnessesed and empowered by the sisterhood. We now pass the drum to you.
For more info about Teresa Moorehouse visit http://www.teresamoorehouse.com/
By DeAnna L’am © 2012
“Sing daughter sing
Make a song
Beat out your own rhythms
The rhythms of your life
But make the song soulful
And make life
~ Micere Mugo
From; “I’m on my way running”, editors: Lynn Reese, Sean Wilkinson, Phyllis Koppelman. Avon books, 1975
Isn’t this the wish of every mother — for her daughter to find her own song, beat her own rhythms, make a soulful song of her life, and sing it?
Most would answer with a resounding Yes! But applying this may be easier said than done…
To begin with, there is nothing to apply here!
For our daughters to find their own rhythms we need to get out of the way, rather than teach, dispense, administer, or reinforce…
The only thing required of us is to model singing our own song, beating our own rhythms, making a soulful song of our life, and singing our hearts out!
Our daughters (and our sons for that matter) learn first by imitation. The early childhood mode of operation is copying… We never “teach” our child how to walk, nor do we explain the concept of “one foot in front of the other”. Instead we simply walk… letting our children try, time and again, to do that which they see us do. Through trial and error, falling and getting up, they ultimately learn how to walk by themselves. Similarly they watch us eat, get dressed, play ball… We model everything we want them to do. Why is it we stop modeling (and start talking) when it comes to Being?
As parents we have a huge investment in how our children turn out to be.
We don’t give much thought to how they walk, as long as they walk, yet we give a lot of thought to who we wish them to become.
Do you wish your daughter to become like you?
Take a moment to ponder this question…
It is likely that you’d answer Yes to some aspects, and No to others. Perhaps you would like her to be as dedicated as you are to your vocation, but not as procrastinating…. Maybe you wish her to be as loyal as you are, but not dislike her body as much… whatever it is, take a brave look at the aspects you wish her to be inspired by, and those you wish she wouldn’t even see… Take a break from reading this article, and write each of these lists in a separate column on a piece of paper.
Now, look at your two lists, and consider this: which behaviors do I model out of each list?
You may find that the things you like about yourself, and wish your girl to be inspired by, are the things you never “preach” nor spend any time “teaching,” but rather lead by example, without giving it much thought. On the other hand, it is likely that you spend time thinking about (and talking to your girl at length about) the aspects you wish her to be different from how you currently are…
You already know how to model behaviors about which you have no “chip on your shoulder.” It’s time to implement this across the board!
Look at the list of things you dislike about yourself (or wish your girl would not follow) and make a plan (starting with the 1st item on the list) of transforming your Self… This has nothing to do with your daughter! It has everything to do with your own growth, and your own metamorphoses: from low to high self esteem, from disliking your body to loving it unconditionally, from hating your period to finding solace and insights during “that time of the month”, or from whatever condition you are dissatisfied with, to one you embrace and grow from.
For now, make a commitment to stop talking with your daughter about any of these ideals you haven’t yet achieved in yourself. Instead, cultivate your own songs, and start singing them… discover the rhythms that make you dance, and start dancing.
Seeing you do this, over time, is the best inspiration a girl can have to finding her own song!
DeAnna L’am, (B.A.) speaker, coach, and trainer, is author of Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood and A Diva’s guide to Getting Your Period. She is founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™. Her pioneering work has been transforming women’s & girls’ lives around the world, for over 20 years.
DeAnna helps women & girls love themselves unconditionally! She specializes in helping women make peace with their cycle, instructs Moms in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, and trains women to hold RED TENTS in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com
- For more information about Red Moon, please visit: http://www.deannalam.com/
- Click here for more information about Red tents In Every Neighborhood: https://www.facebook.com/RedTentsInEveryNeighborhood
- Click here for more information about ‘A Diva’s guide To Getting Your Period’ – http://www.deannalam.com/training-2/a-divas-guide/