Women’s Circles Are Trending – Should You Join One?
The premise of women’s circles dates back to ancient times, when women would meet to support each other during menstruation. Yet in recent times, the tradition has resurfaced – even more so since the pandemic. So what does a women’s circle actually involve, and should you give it a go? We find out more from Anoushka Florence, who founded The Goddess Space back in 2015 and recently published a book on the topic, The Women’s Circle.
What is a women’s circle?
A women’s circle is a safe and sacred space created intentionally for women to gather. It is a space where women can come together and sit in a sacred circle, created with the intention of making women feel seen, safe, heard, held and witnessed on their journeys throughout life. It is a space free of judgement, competition, expectation, pressure or noise. It is a sacred space void of the demands of the outside world; a space for women to go inwards, to reconnect, to return home, a refuge for the spirit of the feminine.
Where did they originate from?
Circles are ancient. The earliest traces of the circle were said to have been found in 800CE and stem from African roots. Typically these spaces were created to support women during the time of menstruation. Living in close proximity to one another, it wouldn’t have been unusual for a whole village to be menstruating at the same time, and so we see the first traces, the origins of the circle, having been created and built for women as a refuge and safe space for them to retreat and reconnect back to their power which at that time was known to be the most potent time for a women (her time of bleed). However, having researched women’s circles, you can see how each culture adopted the circle, for the circle is a universal thread that supported all ancient communities as a space to come together and gather. You can see it branching from African roots to native american tribes, to Pakistan, pagan communities, Jewish communities, first nation communities. These safe spaces and circles are found in every ancient culture.
What can people expect when they go to one?
People can expect a safe space to show up fully as themselves. A warm, welcoming, womb-like and tent-like environment, where women are welcomed to be exactly who they are, to come as they are, to be seen and heard and held and witnessed. As they journey, they can expect to go inwards through meditation. They can expect a non-judgemental space to share anything that might be rising for them in their own personal lives. They can expect sisterhood, to really see women as themselves, and to share in that space together. They can expect a non hierarchical place to exist where we are all teachers and students, and all learning from each other.
What are the benefits?
The benefits lie in realising that you are not alone on your journey in a culture that is creating an epidemic of loneliness. The circle has come in to remind you that even though you are walking this path alone, you are never alone. As we see through the circle, we are all sharing so many experiences that we are keeping locked up inside of us. The benefits of the circle are really feeling that sense of community again, connecting back to ourselves which creates more confidence, more feelings of joy, happiness and trust. In the circle, we connect to the universe so we really reinstill that faith and that magic in our journeys, our lives, and the power of the feminine which has been forgotten.
Why have they become more popular recently?
The surge in women’s circles has been growing rapidly over the last decade. I began holding circles eight years ago and was referred to as the crazy lady who was performing rituals in her living room. Now, however, they are arriving in every yoga centre, in so many different spaces around the world. They are popping up everywhere. I truly believe the reason is because the feminine is awakening and after the pandemic the need and desire to gather is so strong. I don’t think we want small talk anymore, and the circle creates that safe space for us to really be; to be who we are. When we do gather now, we want to gather with meaning, intention and purpose, and this is the essence of the circle. This is why the circle is reemerging and here to stay.
Imagery from The Women’s Circle, out now (Hardie Grant Books)
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