Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Dance of Life and Death in the Buddhafield

Once again I feel a deep honour and much gratitude for having been able to share our Red Tent at this lovely festival. I am blessed to have some truly awesome women on my team, and we supported each other in our work and in practical ways.  This meant we were able to offer a juicy program of workshops, circles and care for many many women during the five day event.  We laughed and giggled a plenty, and cried and healed together at times too.

Buddhafield Festival holds this amazing capacity for personal growth, community connection and a softening into love and compassion. It also brings up a lot of challenges, and for many reveals the personal and collective shadow as we play and explore, in what is essentially a pop-up village of wonder, wise and wyrd.  From beginning to end there is a transformation process that happens, and this year the theme was Dance of Life and Death, so dance the dance we did.

For our first circle in the Red Tent we the women set our intentions for opening, receiving, discovering and entering fully into all the festival and its tribe had to offer.  We released (Death), a little of what we didn't need in order to make space for calling in the new (Life). We discussed boundaries and the holding of personal space, whilst going with the flow and the joy.

Then the issue of boundaries came up time and again during the festival, not only for me personally, but also for us as space holders within the women's area. So much of the work we have to do on ourselves and as womankind in general is within the realms of finding where our yeses are and where are our nos. Then being able to articulate them powerfully yet gently, and be heard in our truth takes another stepping up of sorts.  Several situations called us into listening and communication with full compassion.  Some of those complex situations we navigated really well for others, some took a few days and some we are learning from.  Lots of things can happen in small amount of time in the space of a few hundred tents.  An intense snap shot of life really, but what is incredible is the willingness to open and engage that people have and call each other into.  It is a delight to be a part of, this cracking open, the Being and the Becoming.

I also feel profoundly moved by the women that spent time in the Red Tent with their rawness and vulnerability, their story sharing and their processing, their wisdom and truth. The internalised misogyny workshop I felt drawn to create and offer just two days before packing to go to the festival allowed us to really examine some of the shadows within sisterhood. Owning and voicing some of it, meant it could, in a sense, die and be released, the sorries could be said and equally received at our core giving us new life. Sometimes old ways of doing and surviving have to go in order for us to access the being and thriving. It takes courage to do this, and a grieving of lost selves and opportunities, and I honour each woman that came to that workshop and offered it up as prayer and healing for all women. I am also glad that more and more women are finding their way to these spaces to give to themselves during all phases of their cyclical nature and life stages, connecting to the repeating life and death spiral within the physical or energetic form.  I am bearing witness too to the integrity and gentle holding of some of the sisters for us all by the fire and in the camp.


Overall the blazing sunshine added to the intensity, liberation and brilliance. Everyone shined, radiant in smiles, laughter and colourful clothing, (or none at all as the case may be). Although we were offering lots in the Red Tent we managed a fair bit of playtime too. My personal highlights were the retelling of one of my favorite tales, that of Inanna's Descent in the Death Awareness Space; the wonderful Vaudeville of the Vulva at Word Up; Sexual Healing talk in the Women's Space; and Yoni Shakti exploration in the Yoga Dome. Add into that a puja, some gentle yoga, sacred sensuality work, dancing, rather good raw cacao, and my gigglesome sisters and you get a sense of my juicy time in the "field".  And the Crew Cafe what can I say ... thank you for the love and joy that you served along with our food.  I've come back feeling held and honoured and nurtured in my Dance of Life and Death, and a feeling of blessedness to be part of the giving. See you there next year.

Heidi x

Monday, 8 January 2018

Plough Monday

Today is Plough Monday. Traditionally the return to work, the start of the agricultural year, is the first Monday after the Twelfth Day.

Not only did the plough return to the field this day, but sometimes ploughboys took a bedecked plough from house to house, hauling it through the streets. It was a time of celebration, and sometimes the giving of monies, food or drink to those, like the ploughboys whose work was limited at certain times of the year. Some areas had their own extra customs such a sword dances, mummer type plays or other dances.

A day to set intentions for the year. A day to call in blessings upon your endeavours. A day to set mind, body and heart to task. I will be calling in my word for the year later today. Past ones such as ROAR and EMBODY have served me well.

Perhaps you too could create a vision board for the year and emblazon across it your word for the year

So as I return to work, I set out my stall. Working for myself is not easy. I have carved out an unusual niche out in this world. There are huge dry spells and bills are at times hard to cover, but I celebrate the life I lead and live. I am setting the intention though, to shine this year, and I call in the abundance I deserve.

I serve I deserve

The work I do with passion and heart builds communities and changes lives. We live currently in a paradigm where those who heal, teach, serve, inspire and save are not honoured or paid their worth. I look at the failure of governments to pay our teachers, doctors, nurses, police and firefighters to name a few what they truly are worth. I see local shops and family businesses failing because of the all consuming power of multinationals and big corporations.  I see creatives desperate to pay their way in the world doing what they love.  I pray this changes, that the world wakes up and sees the foundations of our societies, those who look after mind, body and soul, as having intrinsic value.  I hope that more and more people see the value of honest hard work, the passion of men and women, shining brightly against the backdrop of the money machine that supersizes, yet cheapens, it all.  See us with our ploughs in the fields.

With that in mind, I realise I am going to have shout loudly this year to keep going.  I am going to have to be more truthful about my value and worth to the wider world.  I have to remove any remaining bushels hiding my proverbial light.  So please check out my aforementioned stall that is set out via my website. Currently I have two juicy courses on offer - "Keepers of the Flame" and "Wise Women and the Spiral of Stone". There are many opportunities to connect with me either one to one, at a workshop or in a Red Tent.  I look forward greatly to these being part of my sowing the seeds of creativity, hope and truth in many hearts and minds this year. I look forward to seeing the blossom and fruits of these offerings. I am inspired to keep ploughing, seeding, and nurturing my craft this year, and to reaping the rewards.

May all our hard work be blessed and rewarded in 2018.  To the plough, my friends.  Let us celebrate all that we do.

Heidi x

Monday, 11 September 2017

Wise Women And The Circle of Sisters

Anyone who knows me knows I'm passionate about Red Tent.  Not just Red Tent, but women's circles in general.  In my experience these are sacred places of healing and certain kind of holiness.

A well run circle can heal a hundred rifts between women, rebuild trust and shut down the competitive feelings that derive from being told we are not enough and that there is not enough, love and approval mostly, to go round.  A circle such as this can nurture the cheerleader in all of us, the one that claps and shouts with her pompoms of joy for our fellow women in business, in homes, in art, in literature, in politics, in education, and in love.

A well held circle can gently caress and hug the souls of wounded women, hold the pain and the many stories.  It is in such a circle that a woman can feel heard, re-membered, and made whole and holy.  It is in the candlelight and the sharing that the vulnerable feel their true strength, the voiceless find their expression, the lonely know their kin, the saddened lean into comfort, and the traumatised have their wounds rightly acknowledged and tended to.

A well intended circle can call women to the altar of their sacred truth and teach the womb wisdom that belongs to all of them, all cultures, all races, all beliefs, and all ages and phases of life.  It is here before the shrine that women know the fullness of their beauty and their mystery, and can dive deep into the sensual world of the feminine in all her forms and rites of passage.

It has always been my hope to hold the space in a way such as this, and I do to the best of my ability.  I have witnessed powerful transformations over the time in my Moon Lodges and Red Tents.  I've seen a community evolve around them and through them.  I know that for myself I am more whole, less scared of who I am, less broken and actually okay with my brokenness, feel more connected to the cycles of earth, sun, moon and womb, and most important of all feel more connected to and supported by other women because of them.

One of the most common things that women say is that Red Tent, or their first time in circle, felt like coming home, home to themselves.

"The Red Tent feels like a homecoming - a place I've always longed for but didn't know existed. It has healed my relationship with other women in a powerful way, I always leave having learnt and grown”

“The red tent gave me the sisterhood I didn't realise I was craving, the voice I hadn't realised I had lost, and the permission to be myself”

“In the Red Tent I felt a sense of recognition and strength with other women and found the belonging I've been missing.”

Others directly link Red Tent to their own healing journey and it is with permission that I post the following: 

"I am officially OFF the antidepressants after more than two years. This is due in part to the wonderful support and space and love I have experienced at your hands, my sistars. Thank you - whether you are embroiled enough to know the ins and outs of my life, or whether we see each other only on Facebook, I would not be where I am if it weren't for Red Tent."

It is this movement, this overflowing river of red, the reclaiming and the healing, the stepping up and the supporting that was part of the original vision inspired by Anita Diamant's Red Tent.  ALisa Starkweather's Red Tent Temple Movement, Aisha Hannibal's Red Tent Directory, DeAnna L'am's Red Tents in Every Neighbourhood, and Isadora Leidenfrost's Red Tent Movie have helped spread the idea of Red Tent far and wide.  There are circles all over the place.  Many women are stepping up to hold space for their sisters.  Many women are co-creating Red Tents.  Many want to ...

Many want to ... but don't know quite how.  Even though the ideas for holding a Red Tent are out there, and any woman can do this, I have been asked over and over now.  "I would like to do what you do.  I want to learn how to hold space like you."  Having encouraged several women to start their own Red Tents, I am aware that for some the desire is strong, but so is the overwhelm and the task seems daunting.  So I've recently I've listened when some have said will you teach us, and I've put together an offering that I hope will be the start of many more Red Tents and sister circles. If you feel the call please come join us. 

Wise Women and the Circle of Sisters starts on October 1st and is a self led course delivered to your inbox.  It was originally going to be live in person workshop with a year of additional support via a Facebook group, but I've had interest from women all over the place and in the end it seemed impractical.  I've packed it with as much juicy know how and practicality as I can and will be passing on information mostly through video format to keep connected face-to-face.  During the month of October the initial teaching package will be shared and from this October till September next year support is offered via a lightly mentored Facebook Group and a monthly package of encouragement and ideas for Red Tents, including meditations, songs, activities and themes.  

I hope this will enable many women to feel empowered to hold Red Tents in their communities and reach the women who are crying out for connection, understanding and nurturing. 

Heidi x