Sisterhood as Medicine
The Ancient Art of Circling
“For thousands of years, in tribes and villages around the world, women have come together in circles to share, to teach, to listen, to learn. The pulse of these women still beats within us. Their wisdom flows through time, whispering to us the song of female connection and beauty. We only need to stop long enough and put our ear to our heart to hear the call.” -HeatherAsh Amara
The art of circling in community is as old as time and has been used in cultures all over the world. Circles with a sacred center are the oldest forms of social interaction. Today, women all over the world are feeling the call to return to circling and to reclaim this ancient way of connecting.
How ancient are we talking? There is evidence of spiritual circle gatherings occurring possibly as early as 300,000 years ago in Middle Paleolithic societies, although little is known about the complexity of these gatherings. Actual evidence is found that communities gathering for spiritual and shamanic experience have been evidenced in the Upper Paleolithic societies (over 30,000 years ago, long before modern humanity). ^2
When women lived together in communities, villages and tribes, women would gather around the fire (the circle center) to cook, raise children, mourn, celebrate, share stories and pass on traditions. In some cultures, women would bleed together, gather around lunar cycles and honor rights of passage in circle + ceremony. Women have truly been communing in circle since the dawn of time. We thrived in this connective and nurturing, “it takes a village” environment. It’s part of who we are.
What was shared in these circles? What stories were told? What decisions were made? What revelations and breakthroughs were experienced? What in our world’s history was influenced specifically by a women’s circle? It’s powerful to think about, right?!
Unfortunately, circles began to fade (but not disappear!) over the years. With the rise of the patriarchy, pivotal events like The Burning Times ^3, the rise of colonization, the rise of industrialization and even now with the continued rise of the digital age – we have been/continue to be pulled farther and farther away from the community focused living of our ancestors. We have been pulled away from circling.
We are now all off in our individual silos, convinced we must “go at it alone”. This lack of community results in depression, anxiety, loneliness and more. We walk around with this emptiness within us…knowing we need something to fill the space, but not quite sure what is missing.
Circle, community and connectedness – that is the missing piece.
Think about the shape of the circle…no beginning and no end…interconnectedness represented in a physical shape. With no hierarchy in circle, anyone who gathers is an equal part of the whole, making it an empowering and transformational way to communicate.
In circle, there are no masks to wear, no filters to add and no boxes to fit in (it’s a circle, right?!). It’s an opportunity to bring all that you are – the light and the dark, the beauty and the mess – and know you’re not alone. I often say that circle feels like this collective exhale…this moment of “yessssss, being a human can be hard, you feel it too?” and seeing women look you in the eyes and acknowledge in love and in shared relief.
As a circle facilitator, I witness time and time again the power of this circle medicine. Women want to be seen, heard, supported and witnessed. We want to see, hear, support and witness. When an opportunity comes that allows for this, women bloom. There is this deep remembering that occurs and I watch eyes light up, hearts expand and co-creative community form.
Women all over the world are hearing the call for this reclamation of circle, for this reclamation of community and for this reclamation of connection + support. Do you feel it too?
“A circle of women may just be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get Naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love gentle. You will be changed. The very fabric of your being will be altered by this, if you allow it. Please, please allow it.” – Jeanette LeBlanc
If you feel like something may be missing in your life but aren’t quite sure what it is, I invite you to explore if there are any circles happening in your area. If so, give it a try. Lean in to this ancient way of communicating, of gathering and of connecting. I believe it has the capacity to change your life.
About the author:
Leah DeLuzio is a women’s circle facilitator, ceremonialist and owner of Her Sacred Circle Event Company. She facilitates circles, workshops and retreats in the Grand Strand of SC as well as virtually. Her free online sisterhood space, the Her Sacred Circle Goddess Collective, currently has over 3300 women from all over the world connecting in sisterhood. Learn more about the Her Sacred Circle mission here: www.hersacredcircle.com