We are all feeling a sadness in the team because Carly is leaving us. Carly has been working in the role as engagement lead since 2018. She has launched our Instagram feed, ignited our Facebook page and been our social media guru and engagement queen full of ideas, energy and passion for what we are all trying to bring into the world. Carly has been helping to care for both her nan and mom during the lockdown since they both managed to get injuries that needed tending. Normally, her mom would do the majority of the care for her nan, but it has been Carly’s deep honour to step in and take up that role. Since her mom is getting older and experiencing more health issues as time goes by, they discussed as a family what they would all like to happen going forward, throughout Covid and beyond. Carly’s daughters, at 6 and 3, although still very little, are needing her less and less intensely as the days go on, and so the women in her family have agreed that Carly will take on more of the caring duties for her nan from her mom. Which means that it’s time to reassess her other commitments and therefore she is going to relinquish her role as engagement lead to make space for this new chapter in the story of the women of her family.
Our lives are a series of moving parts and we sometimes get those golden opportunities to see things in focus and reassess where we send our energy. We want to wish Carly huge love, luck and thanks for all the fish.
Speaking of golden opportunities, we have something to offer you awesome leaders of red tents that we think is very special. Below you will find a Sitting in Circle piece from Madeleine. Madeleine is a UK-based university researcher, based at Leeds Beckett University, who is interested in feminism and spirituality. When she learnt about Red Tents, she was surprised to find that there was very little academic research about them or women’s circles more generally, and none conducted in the UK. So, she decided to conduct some research herself!
The invitation for you women based in the UK, is to contribute to mapping the Red Tent movement! If you are involved in running a Red Tent, she would like to invite you to participate in an online survey about your circle. This involves providing details about your Red Tent, what you do and the kind of women who attend. The entire process is anonymous and confidential. We hope you will say YES! Wouldn’t it be a powerful piece of knowledge to see the scope and diversity of this beautiful movement. Let’s help make it happen! Please answer the questions to reflect how the circle was in the time before the corona virus unless the question specifically suggests otherwise. You can access the questionnaire here, which also provides a little more detail about Madeleine, the study itself, and further details about ethics, data security and storage.
If the link doesn’t work you can copy and paste this URL into your browser:
If you have any questions about the research, please contact Madeleine via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your work, Madeleine. The anticipation of the results feels super tingly.
Sitting in circle – Madeleine
In the few times I’ve attended Red Tent circles, I’ve come out feeling hugely energized, validated, positive, uplifted, supported, understood, valued, nurtured and loved (and moved by the ability of a couple of hours in the presence of a few other women to effect this change in me). The feeling of connection, acceptance and warmth from other women in such settings is unrivalled.
The simplicity of the women’s circle setting is attractive. There are few expectations, in my experience, other than showing up, being respectful, and perhaps bringing an offering or gift and something to be eaten or drank together. Yet the potential rewards of sharing lives, vulnerabilities and experiences are great. Differing women’s experiences are not the same, and there are often differing views amongst women. But in these interweaving stories, there are moments of humanity, emotion, empathy, connection and a lack of judgement, advice or derision which is so refreshing.
Talking about loss, relationships, childcare, working lives, fertility, birthing and diverse intimate bodily experiences from sexual connections to differing experiences of menstruation to illness can be difficult and painful. In the circle space I have witnessed shifts for those sharing their pain and seen wisdom being exchanged through both tears and laughter. These profound moments often hinge on women who are running circles and their ability to hold the space.
Recent events have affected the ability for circles to meet in person. Some will have embraced this, and I know some are hosting Red Tents virtually. What I have discovered is that my preferred medium is in-person circles. But I recognise many women will have benefitted from virtual circles and I hope that those who are struggling because of loss, difficulties surviving, or mental health issues do not feel alone.