Houston has a monthly women’s gathering called the Red Tent which is connected to a national movement of women gathering together. I was introduced to this special gathering of women as a young teenager through the budding message board systems during the dinosaur DSL phase of the internet. I was shocked, timid, and curious and kept up with their events online. The first time I attended a meeting in person was years later. Since then I have participated as a guest, a speaker, a planner, a friend, a maiden, a woman seeking healing and connection, and a woman emPOWERed. The older I get I awaken deeper to my calling, strong desire, and replenishment that occurs when I connect and grow with women in a women’s only gathering.
During one meeting we had a young woman who took her first steps into womanhood experiencing her first cycle. At this gathering this new woman was being honored through a collective of women. Stories of physically coming of age from women of various ages from their 20s into 60s were shared. The new young maiden was showered with gifts including a card signed by all the attending women. Her mother was honored and given time to share her feelings and experiences watching her child mature. Time was given for the maiden to speak her voice and remember the inclusiveness of her physical body on a new deeper level. She was reminded of the normalcy of her cycle and the knowledge that she is now joining a transformation that occurs for women that is centuries old. She was able to learn and connect with stories of old brought into today’s time and she was reminded that a women’s cycle can be celebrated and loved. She was empowered to now bring this way of celebration and femininity to her fellow peers at a young age.
This is a high contrast to the general consensus of women in the United States regarding their cycles. While searching for images on Google, using the words women and period shows many pictures of women in anger, pain and sadness. Only upon tweaking the key terms to women and red was any positive imagery of being a woman connected to or experiencing her cycle. We can totally reprogram our media and upgrade this ladies AND men! Red Tent meetings are one of the ways this is occurring.
This is one of the healing and awakening abilities of the Red Tent. The Red Tent can be a space where you reclaim your body and its natural functions as normal, everyday occurrences. This new perspective in your life can potentially allow you to experience your bodies’ clicks and ticks as something divine connecting you into a deeper self-awareness. To move from discussing body image and eating to cycles to favorite movement practices in one simple sentence allows what some may have experienced as inappropriate topics to be freed and discussed. Moving from a culture of shame, judgment, and disgust to a culture of understanding, openness, and acceptance is one of the powerful things that occur when women gather together.
At this time I too was on my cycle and shared my experiences of what worked and supported gentleness and flow during my cleansing time. I discussed things from nutrition to essential oils to cloth pads and diva cups and did an impromptu educate show and tell about reusable cycle products in the parking lot of the event. This was a new level of empowerment and confidence for me to share with and attract women who were eager to learn natural and mindful ways to handle their cycle. 9 years ago when I started using the diva cup and 3 years ago when I transitioned to cloth pads I did not see myself being one of ‘those’ ladies. ’Those’ ladies were the ones shouting from the roof tops about cycles and reusable pads. They weren’t afraid of what their natural bodies were producing, and are often depicted by our TV and magazines and radio as ‘too much’, unhygienic, gross, and weird. And now, I woke up and found I am now ‘that’ lady! If being ‘that’ lady helps a young budding woman instead of crying and wondering what is wrong with her to being prepared, from experiencing shame due to a disgruntled or uneducated parent who scolded a young woman to a nurturing and bonding experience between mother and daughter, and from a clueless and embarrassed young woman in class with a wet seat and mark to a confident and savvy lady who successfully handles herself I’ll be ‘that’ woman.
Let’s take some time to heal our old programming and reference. ‘That’ woman is:
Seeing this sacred sharing of tales from elder women, joining in and sharing my own unique voice, and seeing women gathering in various stages of life from maiden to mom to guardian to crone taking and carving out time to bond and say welcome to our newly awoken woman an aha came into me.
The body beautiful.
What changes happen to our society when each young maiden is brought into a red tent at the beginning of her transformation? What happens to our society when this woman is connected to her feminine community of elders sharing knowledge while on their journey from cycles to menopause and beyond? What happens when she experiences safety and deeper security inside of the Red Tent? How does this initiation change our young women? How does our society shift? What are we healing? Can you feel your body and your intuition as you take a moment to fully immerse yourself in creating your own sacred answers to these probing questions?
Writing these questions I experience my energetic meridians opening up and my increased awareness of my angelic guidance. I say yes and take my new guidance in and incorporate this healing into my service and personal practice every day. I also imagined how my body and cycle would have changed from experiencing my first time as an experience of forcefulness, apathy, and charge into a community coming together to celebrate, share, and in doctrine me into this normal centuries old pattern resulting in joy and connection. What will your imagination create?
Jessica Crystal Joy is a feminine empowerment educator that has been studying spiritual and self-improvement work since 2001. She provides articles, workshops, and presentations geared towards women being confident in speaking their desires and requirements in their life to their community using their intuition and deep connection with their bodies. She is known for quickly creating an environment of safety and expansion to go beyond a person’s past limited belief systems while explicitly and providing practical ways to be and live from a deeper empowered state of being in her clients day to day lives. She has a B.A. in Psychology and is a Certified Tantra Educator, Certified Intuitive Guide, a member of the Holistic Living Network, Yogi, creative writer for New Earth Media, blogger and social media/website maintainer, meditation teacher, professional speaker, essential oils expert, vegan, and a proud adopted dog parent. For more information check out her website http://jessicacrystaljoy.com