Journey with me to the hidden groves of our Mother.
Walk with me to the labyrinth of her mysteries.
Red ribbons begin to flow from her once more;
Connecting her daughters.
Calling the women back to the wheel of life.
I have been thinking about the ideas of the moon lodges women once had. Moon lodges and/or red tents were places where women went when they were on their menstrual cycle. This was a place just for women from all backgrounds. A place where women gathered and shared stories, talents, and skills. A place forgotten. However, recently there has been a revival of such places.
A book by Anita Diamant, called The Red Tent, came about and inspired a movement that gave women a space to gather and talk about women’s experiences. This book is told in the eyes of Dinah, whose life is only hinted at in the bible as Jacob’s daughter. This book reveals the ancient traditions and turmoils of women back in biblical times. Because of this book, The Red Tent, other spaces of women’s mysteries were brought to the surface and recognized as sacred and powerful such as the moon lodge.
A Moon Lodge was the center of women’s power in ancient villages. It was said if you wanted to destroy a village they would just need to take out the Moon Lodge. By doing this they would snuff out the knowledge of women’s mysteries. But, it seems that women always come to the knowledge of her foremothers, even if it goes by a different name. The Red Tent.
The Red Tent movement continues to spread. It acknowledges and honors the cycles of women. The Red Tent educates women based on experiences journeyed by other women. It connects women to women from many different walks of life.
I am from Indiana. I joined the Reformed Congregation of the Goddess-Crossroads, Indianapolis in 2013. I experienced my first Red Tent a few years after that. I helped set up candles, food, and music. It was beautiful when it was all finished. All of my worries about sharing intimate stories with strangers seemed to fade away as I relaxed into the red glow of the tent.
More women came into the red tent. I was actually excited. I thought how strange. I am usually not so keen on meeting new people knowing I may have to talk about private things. But, there I was just beaming. The topic that we all discussed was about accepting one’s self for who you were as a woman and not letting anyone else (media, society, ect.) tell you otherwise.
Other stories came up as well. We all just laughed, cried, and supported each other as the event continued on. The end was the hardest part for me. Goodbyes usually are difficult when you make new friends. But, I knew I would be back. It was the one place I felt safe and empowered as a woman. The one place I did not have to fake anything. I could just be.
The summer of 2015, I moved to southern Indiana. I still kept in touch with RCG-Crossroads but it was not the same. So, I started my own group. I wanted to be apart of the Red Tent movement. I wanted to help it spread. This society is filled with how women should act, and what they should look like. I wanted a place for women to gather and feel safe and empowered because, that is what I felt whenever I went to a red tent.
I sit now in the year 2017. So much has changed in just a few short years. I have a small circle of women helping me along on my vision to create more spaces for women to feel sacred in their femininity, whatever that means to them. I feel that it is so important for women to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences as they continue their journey as women. It is important for future generations of daughters so they won’t fear their bodies and/or thoughts. It is important so women can have a better understanding of what it all means to them and so they won’t feel alone.
The Red Tent movement may have come from the book by Anita Diamant. But, it has spread and evolved into something much more than that. The Red Tent is a sacred space for women to share their traditions and turmoils without judgement or fear of being silenced. The Red Tent is a place where a woman’s voice is heard and her life cycles are honored.