What does Red Tent mean for me?
In 2013 I went to my first red tent. I felt so emboldened and full of passion after an experience of initiation with Women in Power that despite feeling very nervous a friend and I led that first tent. Perhaps it wasn’t the most typical first experience, but it was mine. It went really well and more tents flowed organically. My feeling is when there is thirst for something and a deep recognition of its importance in a community something can open out really easily and that is certainly what we found with setting up the Brighton Red Tent. A small core group of women gathered to “hold” the organisation of the tents and we began to explore what true collaborative women’s leadership is all about. We shared the responsibility of leading the tent monthly, so that sometimes we held and sometimes we were held. The tent flourished because we were seen and heard; the outward potency a reflection of how we were learning to give to each other and ourselves. I feel this balance of loving by receiving and loving by giving is essential if a project is going to be truly sustainable and nourishing for those involved. It is such an aspect of the wounded feminine to give and give more than is available. Our model taught us lots about this and I know it helped me to re write the script.
For me the Red Tent is a teaching chamber and a healing space. It exists outside of linear time, and through connection with it I am learning that I can take what she symbolises deep into my own heart. To go there to restore and give what is needed to myself, rather than follow time worn paths of self hurt and judgement when the chips are down. For me the Red Tent is a place to resource ourselves with supportive connections and allow the reflections of the journeys of others to guide and inspire, and to trigger and catalyse fresh insight.
Keeping our tents free of promotion of our work of any kind and making sure that they were always free was such an important principle for us at the Brighton Red Tent. I feel it has greatly contributed to the longevity and health of our community. There are so many places where we can promote ourselves especially in a therapy-strong town like Brighton, so the Red Tent was a sacred place where any outward identities we may hold were left at the door and this is really valuable to us.
We have always met this way as women; holding the community fire, nourishing the children of flesh and all that we may birth creatively in other ways. We birth. We bring forth. We carry the capacity to connect, to feel, to create, to destroy and to hold. We cycle with the earth in many different time-line cycles. From maiden to elder, from blood to ovulation, from reflection to expression. In ancient times our spirituality was honoured, and our connection to these cycles recognized by all as a gift that brings forth the wisdom of the sacred into the community. We were given space to retreat and listen. Today we are remembering the value of this together, and keeping it free pays homage to the sense that it is a right as well as a rite.
For me this is what the Red Tent is about. All women, all faces of Woman meeting together and reseeding that which is healthy, whole and good into our communities and own hearts. Being with our sadnesses and joys, rhythms and cycles, staying close and attentive to all that arises from the deep to guide us on our invisible paths – paths made more visible, tangible, of spirit and in the company of friends.