Being invited to write this article has been an interesting journey for me. I regularly hold both Women’s Circles and Sacred Healing Circles and have never really given much thought to whether there were similarities or not. My focus has always been in dealing with the preparation required to fulfill each circle as it comes time on my schedule and making sure the participants are accommodated and feel empowered and nurtured. This article has made me think more closely about the dynamics of both of these circles that I hold. Is there really any difference between the two? My honest answer, no.
Circles are a safe and sacred space for women to come together, use their voices, be heard and be seen. Women throughout history have gathered in this way to empower each other and share wisdom. They are used as time to strengthen our emotional reserve and tend to our spiritual nourishment. All circles are an intimate gathering where we learn new ways of speaking, listening and relating to each other.
The formats for the women’s circle tend to focus on the lunar phase at the time of the circle, meditation and relaxed conversation over tea and cake. As for the sacred circles, they tend to be more focused on grounding, healing, partaking in sacred cacao, relaxed conversation and if anyone is willing to receive it, the 13th Munay Ki rite, the rite of the womb.
Already I can hear some of you saying, “They sound completely different apart from the relaxed conversation”, and on the face value of the content of the circles I would tend to agree wholeheartedly with you on that fact. But, step inside either circle and you will find many similarities with the format of the evening.
Regardless of the content of the circle they seem to be fulfilling a need that the run of the mill “girls night out” can’t, because many women are finding themselves lacking in strong social support networks. Life today is very much based on an individualist ideal where everyone is living life and doing things on their own schedules and modern living has brought with it the advances in technology where you are simultaneously more connected and disconnected at the same time. Just because you have hundreds of friends on social media does not equate to having strong support during a difficult time or transitional phase of your life. This continuous “plugged in” culture and blurred boundaries on work and personal life is making people feel more isolated from others and this is a terrible phenomenon as social connection is a fundamental need, we are pack animals at the end of the day.
This is why I believe circles are appearing everywhere. They are spaces specifically designed to bring about intimacy where attendees can open up with candour about their deepest fears, vulnerabilities and help nurture and grow intimacy. In today’s new age, positivity approach where you are only allowed to focus on the positive you are left feeling as if you aren’t allowed to complain, you’re not supposed to cry or show vulnerability. This just adds to further feelings of isolation.
At first, women always seem shy when they start to attend. Once they relax and start to open up they release pent up emotions, cry, laugh, hug, hear and be heard, validate and be validated, they feel liberated and quickly get caught up in the beauty that is circle. There is a definite correlation between circles and self-esteem.
In that small two hour window women who were strangers 120 minutes ago share amazingly intimate moments with each other and maybe it’s all of this that makes any circle, no matter the intended format, the same on the inside.
What I know for sure is that I will continue to facilitate my own and attend other circles to keep this amazing, beautiful, fulfilling energy moving and growing in the community around me and I strongly encourage those of you who have never been to find a local gathering, go along and become immersed in the love and understanding that comes from circle. I promise that you won’t regret it.