It can often be the case that the ‘to do’ list of life creates a log jam in the flow of possibility. It’s hard to see how something new might emerge, or how this same might look different. It is too easy to expect of ourselves that we should clear – or even see – our own log-jams, let alone release that one thing that will allow the rest to move. Looking beyond ourselves for help, for inspiration, is not only allowable, it brings us into connection with others, joins our stream with theirs, awakens our own creativity, and feeds back into the river that carries all of us.
These are just some of the women and movements that have inspired us. If you you would like to add to this page, let us know which women have inspired your life and we shall add the link.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The novel which inspired ALisa Starkweather to birth a way to have women come together in their womanhood, to share and support each other outside and beyond the pressures and expectations of daily life, in a space outside time. It’s a richly imagined expansion on the Old Testament story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob, taking the brief narrative and focusing on the women of the family – wives, concubines, daughters – and their relationships. The Red Tent itself is the separated out, sacred, space which the women retire to when they menstruate, to be looked after by the young girls and the older women: a refuge and a symbol of what they share.
ALisa has been doing work for women for many years. Instigator and leader of the Priestess Path training, the Womb and Belly Conference series, and the Red Tent Movement, she is also one of the five founders of the inspirational initiation for women: Women in Power. Based in Massachusetts, she runs retreats and workshops for women out of a deep and ancient conviction about the connectedness of women to our planet, and a passionate desire to see both flourish.
Features with ALisa in Things we Don’t Talk About, the Red Tent movie. DeAnna founded the Red Moon – “Coming of Age made Easy; Womanhood made richer” – in 1993, and then in 2010, Red Tents in Every Neighbourhood which aims to promote just what it says. Her website (see below) contains much information and links relating to the Red Moon, and her mission to dispel myths and fears about menstruation, encourage honest and loving communication and understanding around what is a fundamental, shared and usually unspoken-about fact of womanhood.
Women in Power
This is an intense, rich women’s initiation which takes place over a long weekend. Currently WiP initiations happen once a year in the UK, and also in the US – where the movement began. It works with the energy of the predator to release women into an understanding of their own truth and inner power.
Teaches a radical new approach to woman’s health and wellbeing; creativity and leadership; and spiritual life based on the power of our menstruality consciousness. They offer workshops, online courses, training and coaching based on the power of the menstrual cycle, and the developmental journey from menarche to menopause and beyond. Co-founders Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer and Alexandra Pope, both published authors, teachers and therapists, draw on 40 years collective experience pioneering this emerging field of menstruality.
Jane Hardwicke Collings
Jane is an independent midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. Based in Australia she offers workshops internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred and shamanic dimensions of pregnancy and birth. Jane founded and runs The School of Shamanic Midwifery, which focuses on preparing women to practice and teach conscious rites of passage, awareness of cycles (Earth, lunar, life and menstrual cycles), and the mind/body/spirit connection. Her work is intimately connected to the potent potential of Red Tents. www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.
Sustainable Menstrual Products
There are many ways to look after ourselves during our menstrual time and tampons and sanitary towels are not only incredibly wasteful and bad for the environment but they are not often good for us either. Moontimes provides a range of answers through its informative website and online shop which sells washable organic cloth and wool pads, moon sponges and cups, books and lots more. Rachael, who runs Moontimes and the Pembrokeshire Red Tent, also runs Menarche and menstrual health workshops. There is another great resource in the U.K called Honour Your Flow taking re-useable menstrual products to a new level with an extensive range of re-useable pads for all sizes including cloths pads for G-strings and even washable tampons! Vicky who founded Honour Your Flow takes to the road to talk at Red Tents about treading lightly on the earth as part of our monthly cycles.
Jewels runs Living Love from the EarthHeart Centre in the Forest Of Dean – an organisation offering a program of workshops, courses, retreats, as well as private sessions. It seeks to serve the awakening and evolution of the individual and collective human consciousness and return humanity to living as interconnected Sacred beings with all life in the context of an Earth based spirituality. Like other sources of Inspiration on this page, Living Love does work specifically for women, offering journeys into reclaiming and living within the power and love of the Sacred feminine for our personal transformation and collective healing of humanity.
Cherish the Cunt
Founded by Colette Nolan – Lady Cunt Love – this is a campaign to celebrates the uniqueness, power and beauty of all cunts. Seeking to do this through a vibrant reclaiming of the word itself out of its relegation to insult and dishonour. As the campaign grew the Cunt Loving Emporium was born. Which includes the Cunt Loving Quest, an on-line course for women, encouraging them to go on a journey with their own body to the appreciation of their cunt – from the language they use onwards to an essential understanding of self. The course includes material from four key women: Inga Musio, author of Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, Betty Dodson ‘the momma of masturbation’, Uma Dinsmore Tuli teaches womb yoga, author of Yoni Shakti and Amara Charles: sex educator.
Red Hearth House
The Red Hearth House was founded by Kesty Jakes. It is situated in woodland on the outskirts of Stroud. A group of ten women Hearth Sisters support Kesty to vision and organise the programme for the month of opening (usually June), The Red Hearth House is open to all women and girls in all stages of their lives to visit this peaceful sanctuary to spend time in solitude, attend events offered by different women and to share the space with friends and family. The website gives inspiration on the herstory of Red Hearth House, information for visiting women, testimonials from women and the annual programme. For monthly Red Tent gatherings on the New Moon see also Women & Girls at Sladebank Woods.
Miranda is a women’s writer, facilitator, artist, menstrual and spiritual teacher. Her website contains information about her books – including Red Moon and Spiritual Messages for Women and also other resources and training for empowering women, with links to events around Womb Blessing – a worldwide distant energy working that takes place five times a year, offering healing for women on all levels of their being, restoring repressed archetypal energies and validating their authentic femininity.