The Red Tent Temple | What Was Given
Nov. 2015 by RM Allen, NHgoddess.com
Shortly after Halloween is national Red Tent Temple Day, so said a random post on Facebook. I had been away at the farm all summer and was missing my girlfriends badly. I needed to go to the well with my tribe. So I decided to host a Red Tent at my house in the village. What is Red Tent you ask? Red Tent Temples honor women’s blood cycles and women’s journeys and are held in a space that has been decorated to look like the inside of a red tent, as in ancient times. A room as safe and soft and red as the inside of a womb is created in which women can tell their stories, while other women bear witness. Once you leave the chaotic and creative hours in the Red Tent it is as if you are birthed once again.
I had been to two different Red Tent Temples before. My friend Melissa had invited me to my first Red Tent at the very beginning of my spiritual journey. She hosted them every once in a while, and since she is into the goddess, her home is awash in beautiful and sacred items which lent a sanctified air to the event. During the gathering time before the temple hour, the dining table was set with interesting introspective workstations featuring all kinds of nature and art to set the contemplative mood. In the living room area, she had creatively hung the red tent in a large and comfy room with prayer flags and comfy pillows, and a round altar with a candle in the center. Very comfy and serene and orgasmagical.
Much later, I visited another style of red Tent Temple at Rosemary Gladstar’s annual women’s herbal conference. Her conference is held at a lakeside summer camp and one of the cabins, always open to attendees, was set as a stunning Red Tent Temple. Between herbal workshops I slipped inside a few times that weekend to silently meditate. But now it was my turn to create a sacred space all my own. What fun! I crafted an invitation and emailed it out. Here it is…
RED TENT TEMPLE
- Doors open at 6:15 pm
- Temple 7-8 pm
- Workstations 8-9 pm
My dear sister goddesses – it has been a long time since we have been to the well together. Our separate journeys over the past three years have had dramatic effect. We are all more complete versions of our selves. It has been both exhilarating and exhausting! On national Red Tent Temple day I now call us back for a sacred meditative women’s circle. Red Tents honor women’s blood cycles and life stages. I will create a red tent in my home in a small room that seats eight in the style suggested by RedTentTempleMovement.com. The format for the night is as follows:
Arrive between 6:15 and 7pm, I will smudge you at the door. Please leave shoes and coats in the hallway (BYO slippers if you want to stay cozy.) Please enter silently. The temple is held in silence until 8 pm. The kitchen will be set with intuitive workstations featuring several decks of oracle cards and vision-board making items. Please feel free to have tea and work silently at a free station, or you may enter the temple with your tea and settle in and silently meditate.
At 7 pm we will enter the temple and open the circle with breath and prayer, and then we will pass the talking stone. Please begin by introducing yourself by honoring your own matriarchal lineage. Therefore, I will introduce myself as “Marie; my mother is Florence and my grandmother was Claudia.” You may only speak when you are holding the stone. You may speak on any subject. You may elect to not speak at all and just pass the stone on. I am suggesting a theme of “Incubation”, as I find many of us are contemplating the next big thing to manifest in our lives. ***Please respect that what is said the circle, stays in the circle***
At 8pm or thereabouts we will close the circle. You may then stay in the temple, or go to the kitchen for tea, soup, and more workstations. The silence is over, and this is now our time to chat!
The invitations were all RSVP’d and the day dawned. I gathered all the bits of red, pink, and purple fabric from around the house in the form of blankets, sheets, tablecloths, and scarves and hung them against the walls in a small room. Many comfy chairs were gathered into a circle and draped with more blankets and throws to make it even more comfy, like a sleepover. A small glass table in the center of the circle was draped with a translucent white fabric with soft pink flocked butterflies and glowed from within by small white lights. When the lights were dimmed, this was the focal point of the room. Atop the altar were candles and various bits of nature. All of this sat warmly upon a beautiful red oriental rug.
The sun had just set and the women began arriving. As I brushed them at the front door with smoke from the sage-wand, I paid special attention to their feet. The feet that carry them through their workdays in sensible shoes, the feet they slip under the covers beside their lovers, the feet that are placed in the stirrups at the doctor’s office, the feet that brought them to my door that warm evening. The feet that carry them through their womanly journey on Walt Whitman’s long, brown path of life…leading wherever they choose.
Both their feet and mine join together tonight on the path that ancestral women-folk have walked before us for millennia. There is nothing new under the sun; birth and death, nurture and love, work and health -and all the ensuing dramas and joys and fears. The woman with the talking stick or stone is the only one allowed to speak, others simply witness in sacred silence until all have spoken their truth.
In the telling of our bad stories in such a safe space, feelings of inadequacy or failure (in its various guises) are assuaged by the circle-sisters. A silent power is given.
In the telling of our good stories in such a sacred space, buds begin to blossom and women are inspired by the circle-sisters. A silent gift is given.
What is said in the Red Tent, stays in the Red Tent, so I have no stories to relate to you from that particular delicious evening with my tribe at the well. But know this, they are your stories too, they are the stories of all women – past, present and future. The Red Tent Temple is transformational: the simple act of gathering in sacred space and speaking your truth out loud allows for transformation to begin.
Very orgasmagical indeed!