Women have been meeting in circles forever: knitting circles, book clubs, bible studies, and tupperware parties. What makes it a ‘Sacred Circle’ also called a Women’s Circle?
I have been hosting a Sacred Circle over three years. Sometimes, it is frustrating. Women cannot commit to coming as often as I would like. There is the ‘Pandora Box’ symdrome. They come. They share. They open up. They stir things up in their life. And then they are afraid and wish for everything to remain as it was.
It doesn’t. Life changes.
Watch it. Learn to ride down the river.
A Sacred Circle has a Center: an altar composed of statues, rocks and candles providing beauty and focus.
When you cast a Sacred Circle, you do so in silence. You take a deep breath. You release.
What a week I had last week: continuing house maintenance problems, governmental paper trials and trails that are exhausting and confusing, noro-virus scares and shut-down schools. It is wearing on us all. My blended house of six is noisy and chaotic with problems erupting like mini- ol’faithful geisers. I am proud of myself for keeping my calm one minute, and the next, I am losing it.
I’m not sure who is coming to the Circle, will we have enough? Painful friend problems. Hurt and death and health problems everywhere. I send my mother bipolar emails. I am hopeful one minute, but full of despair the next. I cannot possibly take one more minute of this. How can I endure all of this? How??
I walk in to where we have held our Sacred Circle for over three years.
I stop. I breathe. Things begin to shift.
Women come. Women who have been coming for years. Yes, some have moved on. I still hold them within the walls. I feel them as we begin our Sacred Circle.
Are we witches? Three years ago, I would have protested loudly of course not! Now, I understand better that ‘witch’ is a term of finding your personal power and divinity deep within yourself. As Barbara Ardinger explains in her book Practicing the Presence of the Goddess: Everyday Rituals to Transform Your World , there is high witchery (like high church full of strict rituals and rules) and low witchery. If I am a witch, then I am the latter: an ordinary, extraordinary hedge witch finding solace in nature and Mama Gaia, the cycles of the Moon and the immensity of our Natural World.
But in case I am scaring you off, we ended our Circle with Lesson 100 of Course in Miracles. Joy is my only function. A reminder. Course in Miracles is a Christian based study … written by a Jew. And that fits with me: a hodgepodge of finding what works. I find God in nature. I find God in song, in poetry, in beauty, in baby’s smiles and pregnant bellies. In symphonies and paintings. And yes, in churches as well.
Find what works.
Sacred Circles are sensual. Incense. Sage. Deep breaths and reminders to let go. Let what has been holding you down float up and away with the smoke: rage, anxiety, hatred and fear. Sometimes those emotions serve their purpose, but holding on to them too long or tightly will result in physical ailments and pain.
It is a full moon in watery cancer. I close my eyes, and I can feel the waves moving back and forth.
Born of water
Over and over. Over and over. Chants. Reminders. Words. What we tell ourselves is so powerful.
I am changing, cleansing, healing, powerful.
After singing, we meditate. We write intentions and thoughts in a Journal looking back at the New Moon in cancer six months ago. Life is cycles moving through and returning, again and again and again. Yes, I see that I had written then about giving up grievances and finding joy. How very appropriate! I feel the flow.
I dream after Circle of having a baby in a very masculine office delivered spur of the moment by a doula friend of mine. I return, baby in hand several days later to the office which is still splattered with my fecund, life giving blood and afterbirth. I am powerful. I am capable. I clean up the office. Holding my newborn. I wonder where my placenta is. I never got to see it in all of my four births. My body made an Organ that made a Life. How incredible is that. I find it and throw it away in a large see through plastic bag, but then I decide to keep it. To eat it. To bury it.
I reassure everyone in the office that I have taken care of things.
I am powerful. I am joyous. Because joy involves love. Joy is not at the expense of anyone. Joy is celebration of life. Precious, fleeting, joyous life.
Celebrate it. Sing about it. Laugh about it.
We talk. We clear the air of something on my mind in regards to the Circle. A pain I am holding. I let it go. One of the ladies leans over and whispers something so wise in response to my struggle. Reminding me that all of these experiences are lessons. She is older. She sees through some of the current all encompassing, tiring, exhausting, mind-numbing, stressful challenges that those with young families face. She reminds us there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that we will make it through.
Some don’t. There is death. There is pain. There is fear. We talk about it. We cry.
And as each women holds the talking bowl and opens her heart. Vulnerability. Raw and naked truth. We stifle the urge to lean over and put a hand on their shoulder and to give a hug. It is so very hard. You want to take their pain away. You want to help.
But it is like the Jesus parable of the fish. Do you want to give a fish or do you want to teach how to fish? Teach how to move through the emotions. Teach how to let the negative wash over and through you. Surfacing again. Breathing. Loving. Finding joy.
Teach how to find your Truth. How to stand in your truth in an atmosphere of acceptance. Because once you learn to stand in it in Circle, you will learn to stand in your truth everywhere.
THIS. This is a Sacred Circle. This is a Women’s Circle. A Red Tent. A Goddess Temple. A Coven of Witches. Incorporating Christianity or Hinduism or Sufism. Whatever works. Because we are all different. Because we are all the same. Ancient. Ancient Mother. Bringing the same troubles and the same human foibles to the Circle. A reminder to look within and find that beauty.
Your only function is Joy.
Which cannot be done without Love.
The Circle is Eternal.
A Sacred Circle is backwards. Perhaps you must take everything you have been told up to this point and turn it on its head. A Sacred Circle begins by ‘closing’, by going within and by meeting everyone where they are in the eternal ancient web of life. Your problems are not unique. Your problems are not isolated. We find that in a Sacred Circle. And we move through it.
And then, at the end, we ‘open’ the Circle.
We open back up to ordinary life … refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged.
Opening again our heart to life and to joy.
Check on our website below to see if there is a Women’s Circle by you: