Have you been hearing the term Goddess Circles but not sure what they are about? Or do you swipe left in your feed too quickly and dismiss them as some new age-y popcorn fair. Women’s circles have been a spiritual practice of indigenous communities since time immemorial . Matrilineal cultures were prevalent in more ancient times where women celebrated and supported one another in mind-body and soul. Through life’s natural cycle, the wisdom keepers held these spiritual initiations as the rights of passage through menses, marriage, childbirth, menopause and transitions to the beyond. Through the circle of life, each women was thus strengthened in the ebb and flow of these experiences, providing her with vitality and abundance for life. Although modern western societies aren’t as familiar, the practice of supporting our sisters, daughters, mothers, friends and wisdom keepers is a vital and necessary touchstone in the heart of every women to understand and experience her deep connection to the ancestry of sisterhood.
Sacred circles have been on the rise and gaining in mainstream popularity in part, because of the fracturing of our societies and the resulting lack of community. After years of holding sacred women’s circles, I have witnessed that deep yearning of authentic connection to sisterhood. Now more than ever. as the war cry of hate and fear escalates in response to antiquated systems that are failing us, : as technology continues to divide us in our methods of communication, women are beginning to rise as one. In solidarity, women find the empowerment to stand for who they are and what they believe in by leaning on ritualized sisterhood circles. Women who take part in these tribal ways are able utilize them as a way to initiate their own innate power as a woman.
If you are that one yearning for connection in mind and body to the drumbeat of sisterhood, sacred women’s circles may be the vehicle for you. You may find different versions of these circles and I encourage seekers to try a few different styles to see what resonates. The circles that resonate for me are those that have open and empathic sharing and listening and held by ancient eastern practices such as yoga or meditation. If you are unable to find a circle near you, create one for your friends and family. They too are yearning for connection and a safe space to call home.
Step one Create an intention and theme for the evening.
Choose something that resonates for you and your particular group of women , if you are privvy to what they would like to experience.
Is there an intention to clear past emotional garbage? or to grieve the passing of relationships are loved ones? Is it to release trauma? or To manifest abundance? Perhaps the intention is to honor a specific rite of passage like marriage, childbirth, or menopause? There are so many ways to honor these profound times in a woman’s life.
Some examples of Common Themes are
How to apply the Lunar Cycles in our daily lives
How to ride the waves of hormonal cycles
How to harness the energy at the seasonal solstice or equinox
How to access sacred feminine energy to increase your creative power
How to use tantric ritual to harness your innate shakti power
Step Two answers the HOW TO:
How will your participants experience the ritual? How will your group experience the intention and its effects? What is the ceremony or practice to support the intention? Most cultures will have Dharma’s or spiritual disciplines that offer specific yoga sequences, or certain meditations, chants, prayers, or offerings to support the intention. Does it come from Buddhism? Hinduism? Taoism? Sikh Dharma? Is it Ayurvedic in nature or Native American? Is it a shamanic Ceremony from the Peruvian mountains? Perhaps your participants adhere to a more western Judeo-Christian belief. Are there prayers that honor the seasons you can apply? Is there a prayer that sings to your own heart that you want to share?
Step Three What is the format? I generally follow the following format:
-Opening with a prayer or chant
– Authentic Communication in Circle which involves sharing around the intention
-Followed by what the Rituals or practices is that supports the intention.
– I generally close with a meditation or sound bath at the end.
– Some people like to celebrate with a meal together. This further bolsters that sense of community. If you hold these offerings in your home, ask for a donation or for participants to bring a dish.
Step Four Who is the facilitator?
Are you the facilitator but have not yet experienced any of these practices and don’t feel capable? I learned to do these rituals by investigation and research, facilitating groups and attending other workshops. There are certain things that are beyond my scope of practice however and for these events, I bring in a co-facilitator for the evening . Reach out to someone you know or admire that can be your expert. I often bring in Musicians to help with my circles or people to facilitate the sound bath at the end.
Step Five: Be Authentic and Tend to it with love
We are intuitive beings that experience the realm of womanhood from a deep emotional level. If a group discusses heart connection but no true community results from it then the experience falls flat and fails to meet the needs of the group. Hold the circle not just during the event but lovingly tending to it in between. Create a Facebook group with the participants. Create dialogue around what others yearn to experience. Grow it with your circles and get to know the women who attend. Deeply care and listen to the women who are showing up for what you create. We are all yearning for authentic heart connection to others.
Lisa Arshawsky is a KRI yoga teacher, A Khalsa Way Teacher, Holistic Health Coach, Registered Nurse and Certified Nurse Midwife, She has been holding sacred circles in many forms since 2011. She co-facilitates a monthly women’s circles at her studio in Santa monica California called “called “First Fridays’s Women’s Tribe” with Shehera Mocellin. This group is held on the first Friday of every month at www.kundaliniyogabythesea.com. Lisa creates ritual circles in her prenatal and mommy and me yoga classes as well. “My passion in life is for every woman to be able to freely express the deep call of her feminine power. This is so beautifully facilitated in women joining with other women”.