Women have been gathering together in circle for millennia. The rise of Women’s Circles in homes, community halls and yoga studios —around the world— in recent years, speaks volumes to the need for women to find themselves a Sisterhood.
I’ve been facilitating Women’s Circles for the past 3 years, both formally and informally to honour rites of passage such as pregnancy, or seasonal events such as the winter solstice or a full moon. And there is a certain kind of magic present when women connect in this way, witnessing one another, seeing themselves and their own struggles in another. We are united in our feminine ways, and we may also may have our consciousness raised to hear stories from another woman whose life is very different to our own.
It’s hard to describe the magic and synchronicity in these circle when women gather— each time is unique and yet that magical current is always there humming away, weaving us together— if you have attended a Women’s Circle you know what I mean!
If you are feeling called to connect in this way, deep bow to you Sister!
Here I share a few ideas for how to create structure and space for connection in a Women’s Circle.
If you have never attended a Women’s Circle—go! Show up and participate in a circle (online or in person) before you host one. You will get a feel for the flow and what resonates for you as a participant.
Themes explored in Women’s Circles
Themes speak to the feminine spirit. For example, topics may include:
- Menstrual cycle awareness
- Ancestral healing
- Deep listening to our bodies
- Surrendering and letting go
- Trusting instinct and intuition
- Creating healthy boundaries
- Connecting with Shakti (divine feminine creative spirit)
- Being enough exactly as we are (and the list goes on).
The skills you must have to host a Women’s Circle
- A deep love of women and the desire to be of service – This is pretty explanatory and absolutely essential. If you feel any doubt on your journey as you prepare to host your circle, come back to your love of women, your belief in the power of sisterhood and your desire to be of service.
- Ability to hold space – As the host or co-host (for your first circle co-hosting is a great idea!) you need to ensure that the space feels safe for women to gather, free from judgment so they can be themselves and relax. You can create a friendly, safe space initially in the invitation – “Come as you are, all those who identify as women are welcome”; in how you set up the room- it will need to feel private, so ensure that you wont be interrupted or have people watching or listening in; and in how you open and close the circle, giving people the permission not to do or say anything they don’t feel comfortable with and set the ground rules that anything shared in the circle stays within the room, we commit to honouring one another’s stories and respecting one another’s privacy.
- Deep listening – Usually Women’s Circle will have an element of sharing whether it’s sharing stories, intentions or just the introductions, so it’s important to create focus for the speaker by listening with the fullness of your being. Women come to circle to fell seen and heard; the quality of listening in the circle communicates love and care. As the host lead by example and say some words about the importance of deep listening at the start and if this guideline is not being adhered to or the group is large and lively, you may like to offer a talking stick! (i.e. the woman holding the stick talks, and when she is finished she passes it on).
Essential elements to include in your Women’s Circle:
- Start with a theme. Themes may be based on seasonal events or holy days i.e. Samhain/Halloween, Winter Solstice, Full Moon; or a significant date for the women in the circle; pregnancy (ie a Blessing Way for the expecting mother); anniversary of a shared event; or for the simple pleasure of honouring friendships. The theme will then inform the activities you chose to include; pick as many as feel relevant from the list below or add your own!
- Create an altar for the centre of the circle. Invite the women to each bring a flower, candle and/or a sacred object to place in the centre of the circle. By creating the altar together, everyone sees themselves in it.
- Light a candle. Light a candle in the centre and invite each woman to light a tea-light candle off the central ‘mother’ candle to call herself present and introduce herself i.e. “ My name is Kate and I call myself present.” This introduction could be the start of a longer share from each woman.
- Have each woman sharing some words. As the host you will invite each woman to introduce herself, and perhaps, share a response to a theme related question. The goal is to break the ice, hear everyone’s voice and get a sense of the energy and intentions in the room. Examples of Questions to ask:
- How are you feeling today? What are you ready to let go of?
- What is your intention for this new moon cycle?
- What is your expectation for today’s circle?
- What have you come for?
- Share your some wishes for the pregnant mama (if it’s a Blessing
- Activities. This is the fun part, where it’s really up to what inspires you and the women in
- Readings: You could collect readings yourself, or invite each woman to bring a text they would like to share from, based on the theme. Invite discussion and responses to the readings.
- Singing: Bringing our voices together in song is powerful! Perhaps you and the women have a shared knowledge of a song to sing, or you can teach a song to the group. Try call and response, line by line a few times before bring it all together. Or just do some vocal toning!
- Crafting: Simple crafts like twinning, weaving crocheting, molding clay, beading etc, allow the mind to switch off to slower brain waives- the alpha waves- which open us up to deeper more receptive and intuitive states. You can do this very casually, and once everyone is set up with materials and learned the technique, just put on some music and allow conversation to arise naturally.
- Drawing in response to a prompt: This is a bit more structured than the above creative activity, as the process is more personal; the woman is to translate something that is humming away in her inner world, and give it new life on paper that she can then talk about with the group.
- Movement: As a women’s yoga instructor I always lead a feminine womb, friendly yoga practice in my Women’s Circles. If you or someone in the circle has a skill i.e. yoga teacher, tai chi, dance teacher etc, you could invite (in advance) them to lead group through some movement. Or, to make it a bit less structured just put on some music and invite people to move in a way that feels good. Movement gets the prana/ energy moving and gets people out of their heads. It’s good to insert a movement break in the circle if it’s going to be more than 90minutes and people will appreciate the break from sitting and it will help if energy levels have started to dip.
- Guided Meditation: You could lead it yourself if you have the experience, or put on a recording that fits with your theme.
- Tasting: Food and drinks bring people together. You could offer a tasting plate of little bites, sample teas, or chocolate. Either prepared by you, or you can have each women bring a little something. Indulging the senses is a delight and can be used as a way to shift the energy from intensely focused, to more casual and relaxed. I always offer chai tea and a nourishing snack plate after my circles, to help people ‘come back to earth’ after a deep guided meditation. It creates a casual finish for the women to relax and wonderful conversations always start up!
If you are planning your first circle I encourage you to find a co-host whom you connect with or make the entire process collaborative. This takes the pressure off having to do it all yourself and creates a greater sense of involvement from the other women. Invite each woman to bring 1 thing they can teach/share with the group that takes no more than 5-10 minutes. The variety and energy of a truly co-created circle experience can be really fun!
Above all, make your Women’s Circle a celebration of the feminine and wholeheartedly in service of the women who attend. Have fun and remember you’re doing it for the love of women and sisterhood! You’ve got this.
Got a question? Feeling the Women’s Circle vibes? Join me for a free online Women’s Circle & Self-Care Workshop on the November 4th Full Moon.
P.S. Who do you know that might enjoy this article or one of my events? Share this guide with them now – they’ll thank you for it later!