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The magic runs deep – for my sisters

The magic runs deep – for my sisters

The wisdom of old flows through me,
my inner core streams and pulses with orbs of thoughts,
Innately existing, it’s reaching and calling,
Go to it I must, and let go…I’m falling

Maternal beating and nurture flows from me
Returning a signal that’s heard now and respected
A badge of honour throughout time worn
The power and force of red at dawn

Through each of us the magic runs deep
Together we find the sisterhood calls
Connected we are through inner voices shared,
To the sky and tree roots we’re paired

The knowledge is lent as our souls return
And we add to the whirl what we know and learn
So to future ones who read and seek
It’s not for us to find and keep

…we are one, apart yet together, not mine, not theirs…it’s ours

Colour Me Red

My first experience of red tent was not quite a picturesque scene. Yet still changed my journey forever, I have no doubt.

My first red tent was a summer gathering where we were welcome to bring children. I had had my curiosity of red tent awakened by my sister who had attended them in another area. So I turned up knowing no one at all ,and brought my baby boy with me. I was wearing purple and hoping that was OK – little did I know I could have rocked up in my PJ’s and nobody would have minded. It was a warm golden summer’s day and many of our talks and activities were able to be done outside on the green grass. It was beautiful. But unfortunately, against his usual routine of being calm and napping for 2 hours in the afternoon, my precious little one had chosen this day to switch things up. He decided that he wasn’t going to be calm nor sleep. I kept myself out of the way in order to not disrupt the others and managed to miss out on just about most of it after introducing my own name.

The key moment for me was when someone offered help and I declined, in spite of the heightening and almost overwhelming feeling of stress bubbling inside, with a polite but incredulous lie of ‘no, thank you, I’m fine’ with pink flushed cheeks. Of course I didn’t need help – everything was fine and I can cope with everything and do it all, right?! Looking back I’m pretty sure those pink cheeks came from my inner self slapping me from the inside for turning down that help. I left there that day from my first red tent feeling pretty blue. I hurriedly got into the cocoon of my car and just cried. I cried with frustration and I cried with a feeling of utter failure. I had failed to manage a calm baby and socialise at the same time. I had failed to achieve that interaction that at the time I so needed. To be honest with having a young baby I should have just been thankful in my success in finding the place while wearing clean clothes. I think I had even managed to put a brush through my hair that day. We will ignore the chipped nail varnish – one step at a time.

Now, this naively could have been enough to discolour my experience of red tent altogether, but thankfully I had quick perspective to realise that my only failing was that I didn’t identify my own needs. This has been a key lesson that red tent has given me and reminds me of in my daily life and without doubt has been one of the biggest changes in my life – no exaggeration. Now I have seen as many as the next person of those cheesy Facebook posts that encourage us to ask for help when we need it, to turn to our friends, to know that someone is always listening, and yet nothing had changed for me. I believe that was because I had never genuinely witnessed it, that safe space that not only breaks down our artificial bubble of unrealistic expectations but builds another made of something much stronger and warmer. It’s like discovering double glazing for your soul.

To be on the journey of accepting self responsibility for all of my needs and even learning to notice them is a rewarding and colourful trail to be on and the fact that I get to embrace this while being surrounded by the irreplaceable wisdom of other women is simply immeasurable. The support and judgement-free atmosphere is something very rare these days, and I now basque in it as much as I can. Nothing fills my cup better.  Leaving out the hows in order to discover them for yourself, red tent has altered my view both inwards and out. And amongst many many other lessons and appreciations that this wonderful discovery has led me towards, red tent has taught me to notice and love all of my colours through an ongoing process of understanding them. Now I don’t only notice my colours but I’m encouraged to let them shine.

Who knew that inside red…would be the whole rainbow.

A New Cycle

This is the new website for Essex Red Tents… sharing information about women’s gatherings across East Anglia. We have come a long way in a few short years and hope this website will help us support our sisters even more as women learn to come together in communities, with love and respect for femininity, whatever that means to us, and care for ourselves, our loved ones and men and women all over the world. Peace and belonging <3

My first Red Tent

My first Red Tent was around May time 2013 held by Em Tivey and when I arrived, the at the Tree Room in Colchester, the room looked inviting, beautiful and warm. The cushions were in a circle, with flowers, chocolates and self-care things in the centre. We watched Red Tent the movie and I cried. I never cry in public and others we crying too and it was like “this is ok” It was such a healing experience. I loved it and I continued to go as much as I could ever since.

I felt the call to start up a Red Tent in Braintree which I co-run with Kez. Kez runs Red Tents in Colne Valley and we have joined them together. Something else I have never done – co-created something with another woman. It feels wonderful. The power of Red Tent has healed me so much and I am beginning to find myself again thanks to the power of sisterhood and circle.

Much love,

Zoe Harris

I live in Braintree, Essex with my two daughters and partner. I am qualified Moon Mother, ITEC massage therapist, Reiki Level II attuned, Non Violent communication practitioner and Red Tent co-creator with the intention of supporting women to return back to their sacred nature of wholeness. Find out more about me and what I do visit followyourwombheart.com. I look forward to connecting with you on this journey xxxx

 

Ceri Lee

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I will never forgot the day in March 2013 when I met Emma Tivey at the Tree Room Open Day, in Colchester. She expressed her desire to start a Red Tent group in Essex, and with the dedication and support of Clare James Take Shiatsu, it wasn’t long before I went to my first Essex Red Tent in Clare’s home.

I was keen to attend because for some time I had felt very isolated in my field of work. This was an opportunity to meet like minded women, who shared similar values and were keen to share their knowledge and skills in a non-competitive, nurturing environment.

We sat on cushions in a circle on a red carpet around a shrine of flowers, a couple of themed books and chocolate. An intention was set for the group, that all women present may feel included, and whatever they wished to say would be heard in confidentiality and without judgement. Each of us then introduced ourselves, and expressed in a couple of sentences how they were feeling in that present moment. Many emotions were expressed, including those of the shadow self, as well as light, and all were given the space for reflection and acceptance. Much tea and chocolate was consumed as simple meditations and yoga practices were offered by different members of the group, including myself. Towards the end of the session, we gathered again in a circle, and each expressed how we felt as the group was coming to a close. There was a sense of real communion amongst us, that we had shared something intimate and sacred – that all of us had been given an opportunity to be heard – a rare blessing indeed in this modern world that is built on a foundation of competitiveness, hierarchy and achievement.

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Red tent is the antithesis of this. In a circle we meet together, and for a few hours are able to simply be, without pressure to be anything other than who we truly are. The first red tents in Essex followed the original idea, as practised by the nomadic tribes of the Middle East, and Indians from the Americas. In these indigenous tribes, tents were/are erected solely for the purpose of menstruating women to be together during their bleed and find the quiet peace that is often desired and necessary at this point in the monthly cycle. Within this closed nurturing environment they were/are able to restore their energy, and return to the community fully replenished and able to offer their best to the community. The modern western red tent movement has adopted this principle, and on an agreed time in the monthly cycle (as close to the new moon as possible), the group meets, and recreates this practice as laid down by our ancestors.

It is amazing to see how the Essex Red Tent movement has grown over the past few years, but not really surprising. It is so important to have this space for women to come together from all walks of life, to have the time to simply be, and a quiet moment for reflection and self enquiry. As the world increases in pace, and stress levels rise, as we are socially driven to compete and achieve, it is a welcome place of respite. During this time there is an opportunity to deeply replenish ourselves, and return stronger, with a sense of sisterhood, to the jungle that is modern life.