The Red Tents or Moon Lodges were essentially sacred spaces for women where they would gather together to celebrate one another, talk and share, and be able to feel a sense of support and belonging. The women would usually do this at new and/or full moons, as these were the times when they would be in most need of support, rest and reflection. This beautiful and timeless tradition is so important for women’s wellbeing, because for each of us women, feeling a sense of support, understanding and trust is at the heart of us. It is so important for us to know to slow down, incubate and reconnect to ourselves. In these spaces, women of all ages would build stronger bonds and feel a sense of belonging; they would share their emotional burdens as well as their dreams, hopes and desires, and they would share of their wisdom often through storytelling to guide the younger girls.
Storytelling has always been really integral to humanity, because when we share the lore and tales of our generations, we reclaim the spirits of our ancestors, awaken the wisdom, and feel a greater sense of belonging. We see that we all share a common thread, no matter the culture, religion and land, and we also connect to our roots, which grounds us. It is good to have our traditions, and it is good to build new ones too – such as Sunday family walks tradition, and family dinners each night, where we’ll sit together to eat and share laughs.
As a woman, there are certain things you can only learn from another woman. Even as a little girl, being taught and encouraged to trust and develop your intuition, express your creative self, learn the language of your emotions and how to navigate the unique inner emotional and spiritual wildlands, and to learn about your physical body and the changes we all go through, is what your entire life will be built upon. Many women in our modern world feel so disconnected from themselves and have no self trust precisely because we’ve forgotten or never been taught about who we actually are within and without, and the energy and intuitive wisdom our bodies carry.
In ancient mysteries and old spiritual traditions, the feminine is known as the keeper of all mystical and ancient wisdom. Feeling and being in harmony within ourselves, within our unique physical, emotional and spiritual inner wildlands, as well as with the natural landscapes outside of us, is what balances our energy. Naturally, feminine energy is open and receptive. It is nurturing and continuously weaves in and out and through all and everyone and everything. When a woman is in balance within, her energy acts as a healer transforming all others’ energies around her. So if she doesn’t spend time to reconnect to herself, to rest and relax and allow herself to be taken care of also, her energy will be drained and she will have a harder time to give more of herself and take care of others.
Women’s bodies are sacred vessels through which divine energy flows, which is why in Indigenous cultures is it said that: The higher purpose of woman is to connect man to God, and the higher purpose of man is to protect woman. This means that a woman who is in her essence and higher manifestation of her energy will be able to guide a man towards his higher purpose – to see his best character and gifts, and give him the support and love for him to walk his higher path towards his destiny. This can only happen if a woman knows herself – for only then, she’ll clearly see the other also. In turn, a man is the one to provide the stability and protection for all woman and child, emotionally and physically, so that a woman can feel relaxed enough to unveil in her true essence and step into her higher purpose.
This is why, and I always say this, as a woman you need a man who will provide you with stability – this is emotional stability as well; if you feel confused, it’s most likely because he is confused and making you doubt because he is indecisive in his actions and inexpressive in his feelings and intentions. A woman needs stability, because her energy will otherwise be in chaos due to its natural essence. Individually, you need to provide yourself with stability also, which will be in the form of having higher values, building a strong spiritual core, and being able to rely on yourself and be self-sufficient. The more you know your own value, the less you’ll be willing to settle and accept behaviours not worthy of you.
Choosing a partner is the most important decision you’ll ever make, dear woman, because it is not just a man you are choosing – you are choosing the very life you’ll live and the kind of person you’ll be. Yes, you need passion, yes, you need love and support, yes, you need loyalty and stability, and you also need someone with whom you are your true self. You need someone who sees you, hears you, deeply understands you, and accepts the real you; someone with whom you like who you are, and who you become, in his presence.
And it’s not just a decision and choice you make for you, this is for your children also. The kind of man you choose is essentially the one who will pave the path and shape the understanding of your daughter on the kind of man and behaviour that she should accept in her own intimate relationships; and for your little boys, this will shape their understanding on what masculine behaviour is, and whether or not to be an emotionally intelligent man treating women with honour, respect and integrity.
Art from the She Wolf Tarot
As we mentioned above, feminine energy holds great transmutation power. In many Indigenous tribes, women would spend a little quiet time each day, where they’ll pray or just sit in stillness. While this may have seem like they are doing “nothing”, it actually takes a lot of work to sit in quietness, for the wise people throughout history always knew that true power is in the ability and allowance to do nothing. The energy vessel that women generate, especially the more in tune and aligned to their energy they are, is not just for us, it is for other people too. The men in the tribes, and all the shamans, knew that by this almost meditative practice, in which women intentionally concentrated their energy and thoughts on the wellbeing of the tribe, actually transmutes the energy and raises its vibration. Through a woman’s energy field, people around her feel more healed – just by her mere presence, she has the potential to absorb and transmute the energy of the surrounding. This is because feminine energy is receptive and so-called negative – taking into herself everything else around her. This is also why she needs some time by herself, so that she can then cleanse the energy and re-balance, available again to be there for others.
The Red Tents were essentially the times when the woman would have the time to rest during her cycle and be able to connect with the other women also. They would all sit in circles, celebrating equality and the beauty of all sizes, shapes and colours; and they would hold hands for support as they would unburden the emotional pains, and then rejoice in their dreams, joys, desires and hopes. In today’s fragmented society, some women feel alienated and alone, longing for this connection with other women that was such a natural part of everyday life. And the truth is that it is really difficult to find true friendships that are truly supportive and accept us for who we are.
These circles were at their essence sisterhoods. And sisterhoods meant a movement and approach of kindness, tenderness, compassion and inclusion. It encompasses all women, no matter what their shape, nationality or beliefs. It is an energy that encompasses men too, and is healing for our entire world. To help and support one another is true religion of heart.
Art by Carolyn Hillyer, “Sister Moon”
The Moon is very important for women, as just like the moon, we too wax and wane throughout the month, and throughout our lives, and throughout our days. Our emotions wax and wane, and flow like waves; our physical bodies too wax and wane. We learn the cycles of the land, that each waning is held by the waxing in emotion, and always in wholeness even when we can’t see the other side or the reasons why. It is a high teaching of trust – trust in the unfolding of our life, and the timing of our life. There are clocks beyond the lines of our human made clocks, unstrikeable and unclockable by us. There, time is a matter of timing, not by our human hands. Connecting to our intuition, and also allowing life itself to flow through us and mold us in our destiny, is a trust and surrender to sacred knowledge.
In our natal chart, our moon is perhaps the most important also. It shows our mother and our connection to her, which is the first and most important bond that all else will build upon. It shows the way we were nurtured and the way we’ll nurture; it shows who we are at our deepest, what we need to feel fulfilled – it shows how we love and how we need to be loved. The moon is our heart, it is the church within.
And our moon also shows the lineage of our soul: where we come from, the gifts we’ve come with, and how we can offer ourselves in this life also. It is also the area of our natal chart that can help us gain deeper understanding on what is best for our wellbeing, which is why I often include wellness techniques based on your moon sign whenever you book an astrology session with me.
In traditional cultures menstruation or Moon time was considered a very sacred time for women. During this time of the month, the women would retreat to a lodge where they’d spend three days together, known as their sacred time. There they would laugh, reconnect, and share stories, and would also give gratitude, honour and celebrate whatever they were doing in their life at that particular point on their life path. During that time, the men of the tribe would take over their duties, tend to the children, to honour and the support the women’s sacred time away – which shows us how important it is for men to show support and allow time for their beloveds to reconnect and rest.
In their sacred times and tents, the women would rejoice in their womanhood for they were aware of the mystery and magic of their sacred moon and sacred spirit and body; and with the wisdom of life that was accessible at this time of going within, they would support one another through both their joys and pains. They would honour their emotional sensitivity, bringing to their awareness emotions that needed to be felt, which they could not have shared the rest of the month. They understood that the pain sometimes felt deep within was proof that they were the vehicles of life in their readiness to bring forth a new manifestation and experience of life. This pain that was shared and understood amongst the women bonded them further as they were able to empathise with each other, and learn that we all go through our own emotions and experiences – that we are never alone and all have shared struggles. Meanwhile, all the rest of the tribe were eagerly waiting to have their women return from the lodge, with their newly found wisdom and clarity, which would be for the benefit of the whole tribe.
Such ceremonies and rituals help us all feel better; to be better people, to be more connected, to feel more supported, to celebrate our unique selves, to be kinder and more compassionate, to pass wisdom to one another, to be more responsible, and to build trust and faith. Due to the symbolism of the ceremonies or rituals, they leave an everlasting imprint on the psyche and inspire a sense of awe for everyone else.
We don’t have to do something extraordinary – but we can certainly do small things to celebrate ourselves and then one another, such as taking care in stillness, taking a bath or shower, making a cake or buying flowers, spending time in creativity and engaging the magic of our storytelling skills, and taking some sacred time each month to reconnect and support one another in our emotions and unique experiences on our life paths. And when we honour ourselves, each part of ourselves, we become better at honouring others, our beloved and our family in deeper ways.
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