When I started running women’s circles, I had just come out of university. Needless to say, I was very much ‘in my head’. Plus, my first women's circles were based on Jungian psychoanalytical teachings so I was approaching the circles as scientific lectures. I was very organized and overly prepared. So much so that I had a lot of anxiety before and during the circles. I wanted to make sure that we would address every single relevant point.
But the circles themselves turned out to be where I learned the most. Not only because my Sisters were sharing their most precious and incredibly rich life stories, but also because it taught me to let go of all expectations and surrender to the magick and wisdom that naturally emerge from sacred spaces. Indeed, it didn’t take me much time to realize that, the more I tried to control the circle, the less magick and healing would occur.
During my very first women’s retreat, I followed a rather mind-based approach to preparing. It didn’t help that the person running the retreat with me was also very organized and intellectual. We had her notes, my notes, our notes combined, and altogether a huge stack of paper of very organized notes with all the points that we wanted to make and all the practices that we wanted to lead.
On the second day of the retreat, we were sitting on the deck by the lake, and the stack of notes blew away into the water. All of them! I knew instantaneously that this was the Goddess telling me that I should not have any notes! I knew it because my intuition had already been telling me the same thing every single time that I wanted to print my notes before a circle. Every time, there would be something wrong with the printer or the printshop was closed.
So, instead of writing everything down intellectually, how can we truly prepare for a circle as a space holder? First of all, we need to realize that running a circle isn’t a small endeavor. A circle, just like a ritual space or a ceremony is a sacred space. This means that Spirit rules over this space in particular. Being omniscient, Spirit knows exactly how the circle needs to happen to support all participants to receive exactly the messages that they need to hear. It knows who needs to be there and how things should go for all to learn and transform in the most healing way.
But we also need to realize that the sacred space begins as soon as we set the intention for it. This means that there will be lessons and initiations that will happen before the circle even begins, especially for the Facilitator. These could happen days, weeks, months, or even years prior to the event. These lessons and initiations will naturally happen in order for the Facilitator to be prepared to facilitate the sacred container and to share their wisdom with the group.
Indeed, along with the appropriate research, meditation, planning, cleaning, and cleansing, a big part of preparing for a ceremony, ritual, or circle as a Facilitator is to dive deep into our own soul and put words to our personal transformation, as it occurs in our life, in order to extract wisdom from it and to share it with other.
This process is crucial in order to honor the magick of sacred spaces because these lessons that come from initiations and challenges in our lives are the very messages that Spirit wishes to share with us to prepare us for this sacred space. In addition, since we are going through these lessons at this moment in time, these are our authentic messages and wisdom. Furthermore, sharing them with a circle and teaching about them will be the very best way for us to integrate these lessons (along with the ultimate testing from the universe that will assess whether these were in fact integrated or not).
The same happens during one-on-one sessions. Individual sessions are also sacred spaces where we get to witness someone’s innermost parts that want to come up to the surface to be transformed. It always amazes me how much my clients’ current life situations reflect mine. Not situations that I am currently living, but ones that I have just learned from! Indeed, these divinely orchestrated spaces happen in order for us to integrate life lessons and we should not shy away from sharing this with our clients in order to foster a sense of connection and intimacy (in-to-me-see).
When we facilitate sacred spaces, we might share our expertise, insights, inspiration, and intuition with others, but it is first and foremost of ourselves that we give, for this is what nourishes Spirit. We give our illusioned parts away to Spirit — our fears, our shadow, our addictions, our doubts, our emotions, our pain, etc. — in order to create more space within us for something far greater to live. And this something greater born out of humility and compassion is where we truly hold space from.
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