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Sisters in Circles: What To Expect at a Women's Moon Circle Gathering



"The circles of women around us build invisible nets of love that carry us when we're weak and sing with us when we're strong."

Sark



The first time I attended a women's circle was in the midst of my divorce. I didn't know what to expect and felt completely out of my comfort zone, despite me loving all things "woo." I tend towards introversion and shy away from vulnerability with strangers. It all sounded in one word... intimidating.


I am glad I took the risk. Turns out, dancing and crying in someone's living room was exactly the kind of therapy I needed at the time. I proceeded to attend the monthly gatherings off and on for a year and each meeting served as a mirror of my life, a moment frozen in time.


It also shifted my perspective about group healing. There is certainly a place for more private and personal practices like journaling and meditation, but something about processing pain (or celebrating joy) with others feels completely different in the heart and body.


“What I need isn't much.

It is a circle of deep hearted women with whom I can sing and pour out the bottom of my tears.

It is a fire with a pot atop it, cooking something wonderful and people who deeply want to nourish each other.

It's people to sit with In silence while we peel carrots and notice the changing rhythms of our earth.

It's people who can hold our children together in the deepest care, who are dedicated to their growth.

What I need is people with whom I can move —with dance, with art, with prayer, with the deepest strength of love and with the grief of the ancestors that has come in to our care

And to harvest the deep gifts that come from that to offer each other.”


Chelan Harkin



Circles are for feeling heard, and also hearing others. You don't feel so alone on your path when you realize there are others also struggling and suffering, going through their own seasons of life. Your intentions for the future also hold more meaning when heard and held by others. It's a beautiful thing. Afterall, connecting in community is in our blood. Togetherness is like a deep grounding, a return home.


As a healer (and a self-healer) I resonated so much with these gatherings, but was hesitant to host my own because I lacked confidence and courage. (Hello imposter syndrome!) Over the years I kept receiving signs that I was meant to extend this offering. I kept serendipitously attracting and connecting with other women who were desperately in need (without even knowing it) of this type of community and ceremony. Eventually I was finally found myself in a space, physically mentally and emotionally to be able to give back.


I am grateful for this opportunity, this blessing, this gift to share.


“Although many things are good and nutritious for the soul, most fall into Wild Woman's four basic food groups: time, belonging, passion, and sovereignty. Stock up.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés


What are the origins of women's circles?

Across cultures of the world, Women have been gathering in groups since the beginning of time. Circles with a collective spiritual purpose are an ancient tradition, some of the oldest forms of socialization. This sacred practice was almost always rooted in the Rhythms and Cycles of Nature, of reverence to our Mother Earth.

  • Moon phases

  • Seasons

  • Menstruation



Over time these traditions have faded as the patriarchy felt threatened by feminine power in mass. Women still craved connection, so they evolved to be more discrete in modern times, disguised under more informal themes of

  • Book clubs

  • Sewing and quilting circles

  • Tea parties

  • Religious studies

  • Clothing swaps

  • Recipe swaps




Women's circles have made a resurgence with this new era of spirituality and personal development. Today we can call them whatever we want, as long as there is an intention of connection and healing.

  • "Sacred Circles"

  • "Manifestation Circle"

  • "Meditation Circle"

  • "Divinity Circle"

  • "Goddess Circle"

  • "Women's Wellness Circle"

  • "Moon Circle"

  • "Healing Circle"

  • "Divine Feminine Circle"

  • "Priestess Cere"


"Circles are living entities: a full-bodied presence that we create together. They’re the mother of methodologies and are based on the fires that our ancestors gathered around to build tribe and clan."

Diana Lindsay



Why are women so connected to the moon?


Women's fertility and the moon have long been associated, especially because a menstrual/ovulation cycle and lunar cycle last approximately the same amount of time, 28-30 days. Early societies respected the menstrual flow and its connection to lunar phases and the natural world, ritualizing bleeding as a time of rejuvenation, purification, rest, and creativity.


Throughout our lives, our cycles may even synchronize with the moon phases.

  • WHITE MOON CYCLE: Bleeding during the new or waning moon, more passive, Yin energy.

  • RED MOON CYCLE: Bleeding during the waxing or full moon, more active, Yang energy


Our evolution across life also is symbolic of the moon's many stages -always moving, changing and returning back to itself. We all have days of brightness and darkness, and in all of them we are whole.


Look at the Triple Moon Goddess symbol for instance of this.

  • Maiden (waxing moon): youth, purity, pleasure, wildness, freedom, innocence

  • Mother (full moon): love, fertility, sexuality, abundance, growth

  • Crone (waning moon): age, wisdom, knowledge, culmination, independece, courage

No matter what life stage we're in, we're creative forces of nature.


"Rarely, if ever, are we healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion."

Bell Hooks



Why are Moon Circles valuable?

There are a myriad of benefits for moon circle eWomen gather in these groups for a variety of reasons.

  • To set intentions and plant seeds for the future

  • To clear energy from the past or old/low-vibe patterns

  • To support eachother in life's transitions and uncertainties

  • To find peace, clarity or grieve during a time of loss or challenge

  • To release toxins and trauma from your cells

  • To experience ceremony, movement, meditation, healing, relaxation

  • To overcome loneliness, depression, rage, anxiety

  • To share stories, traditions, medicine, wellness wisdom and resources

  • To discuss individual and collective healing - social justice, activism, allyship

  • To worship and honor Spirit, Source, divinity, higher intelligence, the cosmos.

  • To balance the chakra system

  • To mark the passage of time

  • To release emotional or energetic blockages

  • To uplift the spirit

  • To feel unity, oneness and togetherness

  • To vibrate the cosmos in service to the collective

  • To regulate and strengthen the nervous system

  • To co-create sacred space in community

  • To connect with themselves

  • To connect with the earth and its elements

  • To connect with divine spirit team

  • To connect and collaborate with eachother.

  • To BELONG.



"Shame dies when stories are told in safe places."

Ann Voskamp


These are opportunities for like-minded souls - daughters, mothers, and grandmothers, female friends, family and neighbors to come together to connect, teach, learn, grow and heal.


These gatherings then become tiny quiet revolutions, helping to

  • Experience true heart opening and transformation

  • Elevate the collective vibration

  • Encourage the world to slowly shift towards consciousness, balance and sustainability.



The best part? Women's Circles are a judgement-free places where you can come exactly as you are - messy and imperfect. They are the rare safe spaces where you are accepted and embraced as is. Where the patriarchy and oppression has no place. Here our divine feminine energy can circulate and rise.


Your pain

Your sadness

Your shame

Your guilt

Your anger

Your joy

Your grief

All of you is welcome here.



What Can I Expect at A Women's Moon Circle?

Moon circles are as varied as the women who host and attend them! Every gathering is different and becomes a tapestry of new faces, personalities, themes and ideas. Some are serious and solemn, and some are more fun and whimsical. All of them are magical and vital.


The Time

Womens circles are typically scheduled during any period of change or transition as they are grounding and supportive.

  • Monthly New Moon - best for reaffirming and reflection on manifestations for future

  • Monthly Full Moon - best for releasing limiting beliefs, stagnant or stressful energy of past

  • Quarterly Solstice or Equinox - best for renewal

  • Blessing a birth

  • Honoring a death

They are usually held in the mornings or evenings, for no more than a few hours


The Place

Women's circles can be held anywhere that is safe, private, and peaceful. Examples include

  • Outdoors in nature

  • Yoga studios

  • Art galleries

  • Your own home



These sacred, soulful spaces typically have a balance of the 5 Earth Elements, creating beautiful, healing and harmonious feng shui energy. They are also activating to the 5 senses:

  • SIGHT: Flowers, dynamic lighting (string lights, salt lamps, candles)

  • SMELL: Diffuser of calming scents (lavender, eucalyptus, lemon essential oils)

  • TOUCH: Comfortable rug, mats or pillows. for seating

  • TASTE: Nourishing food and drink (tea, wine, cacoa, infused waters or tonics, snack cups with berries, nuts, popcorn, olives, medicine balls)


We laughed.

We cried.

We sang.

We danced.

We breathed.

We released.

We manifested.

We grieved.

We celebrated.


What is needed to Host a Moon Circle?

If you plan to host a Moon Circle it is best to send your invitation out at least a month in advance. Depending on the size of your space and experience level, women's circles can be as small as 3 guests and as large as 10. Make sure to collect RSVPs so you know how much advanced preparation is needed.


On your invitation make sure to include the date, time and address, as well as he following details:


What to Expect: Connection, Compassion, Growth, Healing


What to Wear: Guests are encouraged to wear simple and comfortable clothing in red, black or white


What to Bring: Guests are encouraged to bring:

  • Their authentic selves, as is - unfiltered, untamed, unleashed, unmasked, and unapologetic.

  • Yoga mat, cushion or blanket

  • Water bottle or mug

  • Journal

  • A small/handheld material item/object to offer the temporary altar to charge or imbibe with intention, something that holds meaning or that represents a new beginning. You can ask people to bring the earth element that represents them most. Examples include:

    • METAL : Jewelry, a door key, a spoon, a coin, a pen

    • EARTH : Crystals, stones, shells, salt, a mug, jade roller

    • FIRE : Feathers or bones

    • WATER : a perfume bottle, a mirror,

    • WOOD : Leaves, flowers, tea bag, smudge stick, an oracle/tarot card

  • Guests are also welcome to extend a gift or offering of their own to the event - such as in the contribution of food or drink, the reading of a poem or quote, or even in leading a ceremony of their choosing.


“I see a chain of women, each listening to each, being present to her as she waits for her Self to be born, for her feelings and values to come to form. Woman after woman, being present, as each finds her voice.”

Judith Duerk



What happens during a moon circle?


RECEPTION

As guests arrive you can offer a sage/smudge spray at the doorstep to cleanse their energy before entering.


They may be invited to place their object on the center altar in correspondence to the cardinal directions

  • FIRE (North)

  • METAL (East)

  • EARTH (Center)

  • WATER (South)

  • WOOD (West)

The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity to bring about health on this planet.

Oglala Lakota


Upon arrival Guests can place their mat or cushion down to hold a space. The host may offer them food or drink while they wait for others to arrive, or give them a transition activity to occupy themselves or break the ice.

  • Body glitter or body paint

  • Faux tattoos or henna pens

  • Essential oil roll-ons

  • Stickers, stamps and markers to decorate journal

  • A tarot/oracle deck

  • An astrology reference book

  • Adult coloring books with markers

  • Tea or refreshments



“In more ways than one, women talk in circles: conversation takes a spiral shape in its subjective exploration of every subject. Listening, witnessing, role modeling, reacting, deepening, mirroring, laughing, crying, grieving, drawing upon experience, and sharing the wisdom of experience, women in circles support each other and discover themselves, through talk.


Circles of women supporting each other, healing circles, wisdom circles, soul sister circles, circles of wise women, of clan mothers, of grandmothers. Circles of crones, circles of pre-crones, lifetime circles and ad hoc circles, even circles of women in cyberspace and the business place, circles are forming everywhere.


The more circles there are, the easier it is for new circles to form; this is how morphic fields work. Each circle is a regeneration of the archetypal shape and form that draws from every woman's circle that ever was, and each circle in turn adds to the field of archetypal energy that will make it easier for the next circle.”


Jean Shinoda Bolen



WELCOME

Materials:

  • Altar mat or cloth decorated in compass directions and earth elements

  • Chime, gong or bell

  • Tablet for time-keeping and agenda

The session opens with the ringing of a sound to call in attention.


The group gathers in a circle, the host leads an introduction of themselves as a group facilitator without hierarchy - we're all equals working towards a common goal,


Reading of Purpose/ Mission, Moon themes etc


"In the circle we are all equal. No one in front. No one behind. No one above. No one below."

Review of Rules - do we all agree to the following terms?

  • presence - silencing our phones, deep listening / talking stick, not planning out what to say- just letting it come

  • confidentiality - what you share here stays here

  • courage - vulnerability, openness, taking a pause

  • acceptance - of authentic self, and others in each individual journey

Review of schedule and corresponding tools

Reminder for donation at end


INTRODUCTION

Materials:

  • Talking stick (lighter)

  • Tealight candles

  • Large bowl of water

Each guest goes around the circle and shares their

  • Name

  • 3 Favorite Identifiers (pronouns/mother/sister/daughter/wife/business owner/ Enneagram type, HD type),

  • Zodiac 'big 3'

  • One word to describe their energy this week

  • "Peach vs Pit", or"Happy vs Crappy"

  • "Rose, Bud, Thorn" - one positive moment (rose), one potential/looking forward to potential growth (bud), and one challenge or difficulty (thorn),

  • What you're Loving (celebrating), What you're Letting go of (clearing), and what you're Longing for (coveting/desiring)


INVOCATION RITUAL

Guests invited to light a floating candle in the center to honor another woman, in body or spirit. an angel or ancestor, or friendly or family they'd like to celebrate or call in strength from or for


"I am grateful for feminine energy
for the strong, courageous, beautiful women that inspired and influenced my life through teaching, through love, through modeling.
for our ancestral matriarchs - our mothers, grandmothers sisters and aunts from the past who maintained healing rituals and ceremonies allowing us to pass our cultural traditions to the next generations
for Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon for their unconditional giving of life, for their purifying medicines and their cycles that teach us to honor nature's rhythms."

CONSCIOUS MOVEMENT

Materials: speaker with music


Song for dancing and free movement inspired to release the tensions of the day and transition into the circle



GUIDED MEDITATION

Materials: meditation recording, pillows, blankets


A guided meditation is a further transition into circle: releasing, relaxing, breathing, and committing yourself to being fully present. This will allow guests to relax and visualize your highest self. Here people may experience revelations, uncover subconscious blocks, have unexpected visions, or finally will process something that's been stuck. During this time they're welcome to simply listen, or to journal revelations, or gratitudes.


SHARING CIRCLE

Materials: Talking stick (selenite wand)


Members of the circle are invited to share the truth of what's on their minds and heart, one by one. This can be anything that comes out of the Throat chakra of what's going on in their life, including the current highs and lows of their

  • Families and relationships

  • Careers and work

  • Mental and physical health

  • Homes and spaces


"At each turn of life we face new vistas and perspectives, surprises, delights, and challenges. When we circle up, we share our experiences of transitioning from, and settling into, what’s next."

If someone is feeling more private then they're welcome to share

  • Something interesting or thought-provoking they've learned lately.

  • Your "rose, bud, and thorn" (1 thing you're grateful for, 1 thing you're struggling with, and 1 thing that is currently developing/growing/ in the works)



Other participants are encouraged to practice deep and active listening, which means being purely present and attentive, and refraining from giving advice or words of comfort or asking questions. This portion is about genuinely honoring others' stories and experiences as their own and simply holding space for them.


Women's circles are powerful because they are not spaces for curiosity, debate, agendas or "fixing" — instead they're all about compassion, connection and acceptance. If you have a strong reaction or resonance to what someone is saying you can quietly respond and acknowledge them without words or touch.

  • I'm here with you and sending love and support: holding hands up to send/beam reiki energy

  • I'm here with you and I agree with you : wiggling fingers "spirit fingers"

  • I'm here with you and I thank you: rubbing hands together

  • I'm here with you and holding space for you: placing hands over heart


SOUND BATH

Materials: Crystal healing bowl or ceremonial drum


A final opportunity to relax and meditate. Savasanna surrender, allowing the Mind/Body/Spirit to process



"We are meant to be in ceremony, to remember our traditions, to make time for the sacred."

Dr Jaqui Wilkins

RELEASING CEREMONY


Materials:

  • Journal and Pen

  • Red string and scissors

  • Red envelope

Guests should write three things that they want to let go of, that are not serving them. This can be a limiting belief, an old narrative or story, an identity you want to separate from, or just a word or feeling.

  • "I RELEASE..."

  • "I SURRENDER..."

  • "I LET GO..."

  • "I ALLOW/I ACCEPT"



When complete guests are welcome to share their release. Then this paper gets crumpled, folded or torn and placed into a cauldron for burning, or into the "worry water" bowl as they blow out their candle out. The water is then discarded with gratitude.


INTENTION CEREMONY


Materials:

  • Journal and Pen

  • Red string and scissors

  • Red envelope