Red Tent Gwynedd (North Wales)
A little typical overview of our Red Tent is to gather and greet with a cup of tea (of course!) and enter the Red Tent Room or walk to the circle of trees in the garden. There we take our place in the circle, sitting on cushions or chairs and with blankets or shawls for relaxation.
Meetings may start with a short period of silence or peaceful music with one of us playing the Hapi Drum, then we join hands for the lighting of the candle, closing our eyes as we do so that each woman can become calm and present ready for the meeting to begin.
Then everyone introduces themselves and shares what they are currently feeling with the rest of group and how their month has gone. Sometimes we talk about the month in context of our menstrual cycles (if we are still menstruating) or the lunar cycles which often gives a richness and added depth to the sharing.
During this sharing the women say what they feel and if there is anything they need from the circle. It might be for the rest of the circle just to listen to her, witness her; it might be a discussion, some kind of support on her life journey, gentle motivation, setting an empowering intention, or simply a back-rub! We hope to give every woman some time to express her own needs; a gift that women rarely bestow upon themselves with the hustle and bustle of daily life.
After the sharing the women take turns, if and when it feels right, to contribute something to the circle – whether that be a song, a poem, a piece of art, an inspiring quote, reciting a dream or story, an insight into their last menstrual cycle. Occasionally one of the women may want to lead an activity, such as craft or an alternative therapy, or a talk. For more recent red tents we have set a loose topic for discussion – recent ones have been about busting menstruation taboos and myths, how we can help our young women through the transition to menarche, and a talk on alternatives to disposable menstrual hygiene products (with a cloth pad demo).
Then we have a shared vegan dinner while sitting in the tent, made up of all the contributions from members of the circle! The food is always incredible, we have some excellent cooks among us who also grow their own vegetables so the food is often local fresh and vibrant – Yum!
Once the meeting is coming to a close, the Red Tent ends with a short closing where sisters join hands and blow out the candle, and send out their love into the world.