The Goddess as Mother Earth is still alive within us collectively & individually. Red Tents are the sacred spaces for women to cultivate Her energy and bond over a process of individual and collective healing by remembering their true power and gifts as Women.
A couple years ago, I signed up for an online Red Tent Circle series with Dawn Cartwright, who later became one of my Tantric Teachers. One of the first things that Dawn guided us into visualizing in our meditation was to imagine entering the Red Tent as a Womb space. I’ll always remember this feeling. It felt to me as a deep remembering. I was suddenly a foetus, coming back to the Great Cosmic Mother for regeneration and nourishment. I felt that I knew the power of the color Red, deep within me -- the blood of life, death, passion, sexuality, sensuality, this primal energy. It was almost as if I remembered being in my Mother’s womb and hearing the faded sounds outside, seeing silhouettes on the womb’s inner walls.
Being surrounded by the Goddess is an awe inspiring feeling and it is exactly what fueled our ancestors to believe in and worship the Earth as The Mother Goddess, Creator of all. But most importantly, and I am sure of it, they experienced this to be true. Have you ever felt that the trees were looking at you? Patiently holding space for your existence? Have you ever felt the energy of a plant or a fruit as you approached them? Especially to eat or cut them? There is undeniably an intelligence in Nature, and this intelligence feels like a Goddess. She is providing and she is also fierce as she gives but also takes life from animals, plants, and ultimately from us humans as well.
This experience of the Goddess energy and the felt-sense of Its cosmology is a deep remembering process of Her as ourselves, for we are made from the Mother Goddess as we are a part of Nature. When we worship Nature, we very much tell ourselves that we are grateful for our Bodies, for food, for our environment, for being embodied in this lifetime and connected to the cycles of Nature that are a part of our existence and the reason why we are alive, and the very reason why we shall die as well. Indeed, the Goddess really does hold this dual nature of life and death, and within this duality is the alchemical power of Transformation, Regeneration and Rebirth. As two polarities come together, as the Goddess so beautifully holds them both, we can also witness the transcendence of them both. Because we are a part of a Global phenomenon that is Nature, we shall forever be and forever die, not restricted to time and space. This transcendental feeling is something that we might experience in the Red Tent as we take part in a Ceremony that honors Nature, the Goddess and this part of us that is deeply Human and of this Earth. This begs the question, what are these ceremonies that does it mean to honor the Goddess? Well, you see, because we are a part of the Goddess and not separated from Her, the Red Tent ceremonies will always be exactly what is needed in the present moment, according to what is present within us, Human Beings, and especially for woman as they tend to be more connected to their e-motions, energy and more readily attuned to the cyclic nature of the Earth (notably through their menstrual cycles). Indeed, women’s bodies are receptacle for the Divine, for this energy to move through them and to be transmuted. The very nature of the Feminine is to be receptive, dynamic and a vessel for the eye of consciousness that is the divine masculine.
It’s perhaps easier to understand that, in the past, (and yet, still in many places in the world), much of our Ancestor’s reality was affected by the Earth’s fluctuations: abundant crops, the droughts, the floods, the arrival of Spring, etc. Therefore, as they shared about their worries, their joy, etc. they naturally gave a voice to the part of them that experienced life in accord with the Goddess. Nowadays, with technology, supermarkets and indoor lifestyle, one might think that we are more than ever disconnected from the weather and other natural fluctuations of the Earth, yet -- one thing that leading women’s circles has taught me is that -- we are still very much connected to these natural cycles of evolution and, in fact, we really do tend to go through similar emotions, and even life lessons, at the same time! This might be because of astrological phenomenon which are also a part of the cyclic nature of life.
In addition to providing a space for us to realize this interconnectedness through sharing of our human experiences, the Red Tent also provides a space for us to process and transmute these e-motions. The circle has a form of intelligence that will allow the alchemical transformation of these emotions unto an energy that is extremely grounding, and by grounding I mean, strengthening, humbling, an energy that opens our hearts to accept the reality that life is hard but is worth living nevertheless and that, with all its harshness, it is actually truly beautiful. This is the ultimate lesson of the Goddess. When we enter the consciousness that She holds, we understand (or inner-stand) ourselves as part of a whole. Indeed, we are a part of a collective, a history or HerStory, a series of events that lead us to be here today, a part of a lineage of Ancestors with their own beliefs, their own connection to their Land, their Stories, their Joy and Sadness, their Lights and Shadows. This understanding is grounding. It grounds us to experience this greater perspectives from which to see and appreciate our lives more fully. And, as a result, we feel more peaceful, more centered in ourselves, more accepting of the challenges that life presents before us, knowing that we are not the first nor the last to experience them. And perhaps more importantly, this perspective gives us resiliency -- the courage and force to keep going forward no matter what. It gives us hope, faith, humility and heart. It is regenerating and I dare to say that it brings us back to a state of Innocence and Purity. However, this isn’t the innocence of a child that has not experienced life as a whole, it is the experience of a soul that, despite the countless challenges and failures, the many cries, attachments, moments of frustration and anger, despite the desillusion that life might at once be the way we want it to be, our soul still loves, it still gives, it still stands as a proof that there is verily a greater Force within us. And this Force is the Mother HerSelf; our ability to have compassion and love for ourselves, our ability to nourish, take care of ourselves and console ourselves when we need, have patience. And all of it, despite the modern influence of our culture that makes us feel inadequate when we are not productive and working full time making a living in a conventionally accepted way. We can still Be. And when we take the time to enter the Womb space, whenever it being physically or etherically, we can heal and remember who we are. Aye, we Are!
When women gather in Red Tent, it is precisely to do this work. It is because their Soul has called them to be a part of this collective process of Regeneration and reB’earth. Women, as they are more sensitive to energies, emotions and connected to their intuition, can truly create a huge change in the world as they come together to do this work. Women, who hold the potential for life within their own Womb, can heal the entire collective as they remember their power to do this work and to cultivate their resiliency and strength as a collective of Mothers, Sisters, Allies. Women can serve as vessels for the energy of the Goddess to be once again, grounded and honored, valued and used for Healing and Transformation of the darkest energies found on this planet. Women, as they come together to share their pain, their stories, their joy, their ecstasy, as they come to look into each other’s eyes and share their passion, their songs, their love, the beauty of their faces, their bodies, their blood, Women become the Goddess as She fills the circle and their Hearts with Her Grace. Women, as they come together in Red Tent to honor their own Womb as a Sacred Chalice for Alchemical transformation, honor the Womb of the Earth that holds the many griefs and pain of our collective, can start the process of letting go of the pain and turn it into Strength. And yes, they know exactly how. For this isn’t a process of learning or trying -- this isn’t trying, or putting on a role, this is just us being us, this is allowing Life, which we are, to be expressed, no matter what this looks like. This is why I always start my women’s circles by saying that all is Welcomed here. The Goddess is all parts of ourselves, just like she is all parts as expressed outside of ourselves. And with our Masculine Consciousness of the observer, we just need to witness it all. And magick naturally happens <3
Is your blood capable of magic? By RED Magazine
Story by: Claire Floody | Illustration by: Beenish Shahab
At the base of a giant tree where an altar sits in Uvita, Costa Rica, Clarity Barton buries her menstrual blood as an offering to the earth. It’s February 2016 and it’s the first time she’s ever participated in a red tent ceremony, but the impact is lasting.
“Everyone cried,” she says. “Everyone. It was one of the most grounding practices that I’ve ever experienced.”
Barton was travelling in Costa Rica with her sister for a festival when she discovered the red tent and the women leading the ritual.
Most people have heard of the red tent ceremony from the 1997 novel The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. The novel is a biblical retelling of The Rape of Dinah, but this time from Dinah’s perspective instead of her brothers’. In the story, women come together in a menstrual hut (also known as a red tent) and share secret stories, wisdom and initiations amongst themselves. (Click here to continue reading).
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