The Modern Red Tent
The Importance of the Modern Red Tent
Perhaps you have read or heard stories from hundreds and even thousands of years ago, when women gathered together in sacred spaces.. Traditionally, humans lived in tribes, communities and with extended families where a daily or consistent support network was available. This allowed women to retreat into their ‘Red Tent’ when needed, knowing that life would carry on, held by the responsibility of others in the community.They could let go of their every day life and the external world of work, chores, mothering and responsibility. They honoured the cycle of nature, and as women, were especially guided by the moon. When the moon is dark, it is a natural time for stillness, rest, introspection, rebuilding and gathering of energy, nourishment and vitality. During these days around the new moon, women would retreat into a designated space, known as a Red Tent, Moon hut, woman’s or yoni temple to name a few. Inside this sacred place, women would bleed into the earth, reflect on life, talk, laugh, sing or simply be in silence. When it was time for a woman to give birth, she would retreat into the ‘Red Tent’ for weeks or even months being fed, massaged and nourished until she felt renewed, recovered and ready to emerge vital and able resume her daily life as a mother. Girls could enter the space from the time her menses began and it was a place where women could retreat when they were ill or recuperating.
As modern life continues to speed up, primarily spurred on by technology, convenience prevails, allowing everything to being done faster and more efficiently. Certainly, this had made our life easier is many aspects, although on the down side, this has meant that we have forgotten how to ‘go slow’, lounge around, rest, be in our pleasure and in general we have lost connection with our cycles and rhythms of nature. In addition to this, there is an epidemic of women’s health problems, fertility issues, auto-immune diseases and hormanal imbalance.
Perhaps you live with a partner, family or with friends who can offer you some respite from life. Although, it may not be possible to take 5 days off during your entire menstruation, even taking one day of rest a month, possibly on the first day of your menstruation, can give your body, mind and soul the rejuvenation it needs for the month ahead. If you no longer menstruate, giving yourself rest time especially around the new moon can give you vitality and energy you need for the rest of the month.
Here are a few ways to experience a ‘Red Tent’ in your life…
Join a Red Tent
- There are many Red Tent organisations around the world that have emerged over recent years, particularly after the release of the brilliant book ‘The Red Tent’ by Anita Diamont, from which myself and many others have been inspired to create our own red tent spaces or organisations. In these places, there are usually monthly or regular meetings, groups or gatherings available for women to come together usually on the new and sometime on the full moon. Here you have an opportunity to sit in circle with other women – similar to the way women would have gathered together in a Red Tent or Moon hut. Here we can sit still, be in silence, reflect, share concerns, stories and celebrations. Or if it feels right, we can move, dance, shake out our worries, breath out, sigh, moan, groan or even primal scream ! When we menstruate or honour the new moon, we are cleansing from the month gone by, clearing out not only the blood and toxins from our body, but also clearing out our emotions, thoughts, experiences, stresses or losses from the previous weeks of the lunar cycle.
Create a Women’s Group or Space
If you do not have a ‘Red Tent’ or women’s space nearby, then you could create your own. This may be done in a private setting in someone’s house or communal space where you organise monthly women’s circles or meet-ups for free or donation. Your Red Tent may be done on a larger scale by hiring a space on a regular basis or even creating a business, offering services for women and girls. This could include anything from women’s circles, support groups for women, pregnancy, mothers and girls, massage and healing, workshops and events based around women’s health and empowerment.
Having created and run a women’s space for 8 years, I do recommend that you build a community of women to share the responsibilities and workload, otherwise you can become pressured, over-loaded and depleted. Therefore, if you are taking this role, your need for self-care and rest becomes paramount, so that you are receiving as much as you are giving.
Your Personal Red Tent
If you do not feel inclined to gather with other women or would like additional opportunities to nourish yourself, then creating a mini Red Tent in your home is absolutely possible. Find a particular space in your house where you can close the door and be uninterrupted. You may want to build an alter or just put a few of your favourite photo’s, artwork, possessions or jewellery on a small table. Lighting a candle is a lovely ritual to mark the beginning and end of your personal ceremony, which may be a meditation, breathing or yoga practice. It could be singing or chanting, moving or dancing. You may chose to simply lounge on a soft rug and cushions, read a book, write in your journal or draw. You could have a leisurely cup of tea or create a traditional tea ceremony. Every woman has a unique way of being creative and connecting with herself. This is for you to decide, discover and develop over time.
Once you begin creating the time and space for you either on your own or with other women, start noticing the changes within yourself. They may be subtle at first, however, over time you may experience more energy, feel more centred, calm and even more intuitive. From this place, you can make wise and loving choices for yourself on a daily basis that ultimately allow you to create the life you really want to live.
For more information or to make contact with Emma you can email firstname.lastname@example.org