Circle Guidelines

Principles and Practice for being in Circle

by Em Tivey


Council Sharing

  • Whoever has the talking piece speaks, and continues for as long as she needs.
  • No cross talk or interruptions.
  • Non- interference unless requested ~ no physical response to emotion (eg, patting, holding, handing a tissue, comforting into silence) other than deeper listening.

This can be challenging and uncomfortable but it is a good practice.

Circle is not a place to fix, change or heal. It is a sacred container that holds the darkness and the light in equal love.



Speaking from the heart

  • Come as you are – authenticity.
  • State your experience as yours, speaking from the “I”(avoiding generalising how women feel / how someone else must feel)
  • Guidance comes from within – opening to the inner wisdom or channel for spirit.
  • Silence is welcome J
  • Self responsibility – asking for what you need when you have the talking piece (eg. tissue, hug, feedback, co-sharing, receptive witness)



Listening from the heart

  • Listening carefully, non judgementally and accepting what is being said as the speakers reality – being witness
  • Being 100% present – not premeditating what to say when it’s your turn/thinking about what to have for dinner etc
  • Self responsibility – know that you have the power of choice about how you inwardly respond to what is being said – ie being drawn into the emotion, compassionate non attachment




  • Intimacy depends on trust and creating a safe space
  • What is said in the circle remains in the circle
  • Talking about what is shared in the circle even if it is intended in a positive way, is still an undermining of the sacred process of witnessing.



*** To spiral deeper we can introduce themes or questions for moving the circle to greater intimacy eg. Sisterhood; How do you express your heart song in this world?; Your Inner Wise Woman; Connecting with your blood