Category Archives: women’s spirituality

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

by Jayleigh Lewis

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

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

1 Comment

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

Feminist Utopia…

Remember yourself as a little girl. Now imagine what that little girl would do if she were invited into a Red Tent. Would she play, sing, laugh, learn, relax? We can create this for our daughters and the daughters of our sisters…

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for today’s episode of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know…

How would you life be different if you had a Red Tent as a girl?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

If you liked this video, subscribe to our channel & sign up for our free weekly episodes of Red Tent TV at http://www.redtent.tv/

Missed my most recent episodes? Watch them here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw

Enjoy the video and have a fantastic day! Thanks for watching!

My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw
Website: http://www.redtent.tv
Friendship on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/redtentfilm

Opening song “Red Tent Temple” by Mother Turtle. http://www.motherturtle.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under "things we don't talk about", coming of age, daughter, Feminism, red tent, red tent film, red tent movie, Red Tent TV, story, The Red Tent, women's spirituality, women's stories

What if Every Woman…

Stephanie Ingraham

Art by Stephanie Ingraham

What if…

Every woman spoke her truth no matter how painful?

Every woman spoke her truth without needing to be responsible for the reactions of others?

Every woman spoke her deep truths from her heart and womb?

Every woman stopped listening to the limiting beliefs passed down to her?

Every woman stopped trying to do it all or be it all?

Every woman stopped pretending that her needs do not matter?

Every woman left the thoughts that she is not good enough in the trash can at the curb?

Every woman left physically, mentally, emotionally abusive relationships?

Every woman left her unsatisfying, draining job?

Every woman paused long enough to be present with herself?

Every woman paused long enough to be present with her family? her children?

Every woman paused when she was called to pause, rest when she was called to rest?

Every woman remembered how perfect and amazing and creative she is?

Every woman remembered that she deserves every ounce of ecstatic pleasure possible in life?

Every woman remembered that she does not need to suffer in the pain of the past?

Every woman held hands with one another and supported one another?

Every woman held herself as the queen of her world?

Every woman held her womb, the creative center, as holy and sacred?

Every woman knew that she is capable of all this?

Every woman knew that she could heal herself?

Every woman knew she could do it?

What would our world look like?

bar

Helene RoseHelene Rose, MS, is passionate about supporting women to live brilliant lives and founded Be Brilliant Network to serve as a portal for women to step into their radiance. Helene’s experience provides her with a deeply compassionate perspective and understanding of the modern woman’s struggle for mindful living and feminine empowerment. She lives in Boulder, CO with her family.

This article was reproduced with permission from the author. To read the original article click here.

1 Comment

Filed under Guest Blogger, women's spirituality, women's stories

My Religion

by Rebecca H. Jones

 Originally published on my blog, “Creatrix” – Creatrixlife.wordpress.com

My religion is going to have a big Goddess, with juicy hips.  She’s going to be as big as the Earth, and be the Earth and be bigger than the stars.

We will believe in the love between mother and child, and worship creation.

The Earth

We will meditate, but only in comfortable ways, and we’ll stretch together.

We will have a practice of dancing, where we dance joy into being.

Pure giggling will be our home state; we will work to reveal our true natures of amused contentment.

We will sing Girl Scout songs and Indigo Girls and worship the holy roasted marshmallow.

We will believe in ghosts and worship our ancestors.  We will find our roots in the trees, and in every lineage – physical/DNA and invented via any sort of new creation – family trees grafted together.

We will heal old wounds and be present to each other’s suffering.

We will honor our own bodies first, and be guided by our dreams.

In my religion, people will believe things that are true and trust in mystical unknowns larger than a star’s lifespan.

In my religion, we will write the texts and study them, and burn them as an offering to the unknown.

We will reach back to processes forgotten and hurtle forward with our exuberance.

The crow caws, and the birds will lead us in our flights to the heavens.

We will not be afraid, we will come together in blankets of healing and peace, and hold all-night vigils.

We will honor silence, and hold the crumbling Earth in our hands.

We will recreate creation in our gardens, and our bodies, and our communities.  We will speak one language and many.

In my religion, we will feel free and connected and unafraid.

1 Comment

Filed under Collective Consciousness, goddess, healing, women's spirituality, women's stories

Coast to Coast Screenings

By Jayleigh Lewis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canoga Park, CA Red Tent Screening.

Canoga Park, CA Red Tent Screening.

Some highlights include:

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment

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