SARAH's Red Tent Preparedness
Here are some helpful steps to remind you of as you are preparing for your Red Tent gathering.
This Guide is to help you with steps and ideas and will be updated periodically.
Preparing the Red Tent environment
Setting up your Tent.
You do not need to use an actual tent. However, if you do, it's important you can close all 4 sides to create sacred space.
Abraham's Tent is known to leave all the walls of his tent open. While this is important for other types of gatherings, SARAH's Red Tent is a unique and honored space for women only without disruption to the flow of energies that the women inside create in their time
Open your Tent door and make sure, that while you are the Facilitator, you simultaneously get out of the way! Be sure to listen carefully practice Sacred Listening skills, and check in with everyone's body language Yes, you have an agenda, but get use to tossing it out when what wants to emerge shows up! Allow it responsibly.
"In a Red Tent, trust reigns so creativity can flow."
Step 1. Check your intentions. Confirm you are creating this space to host women and yourself in a safe place to explore what it is you are gathering to explore. You are hosting a unique environment to create together, to learn from one another, and to trust one another.
Step 2. Identify your initial group of women you'd like to convene. Not sure how? Here's some help...
Step 3. Red Tents are successfully hosted on line, however If you are hosting a Red Tent in your home, insure everyone you invite is someone you know, or is brought by someone you know.
Make sure to check with your local park if you plan on hosting an actual Red Tent since you are gathering in a public place, you may require a permit.
Step 4. Create an Altar. We begin in the center of our heart, so it's equally important to begin creating sacred space in the center of your Tent (or room). Traditional items for your alter can start with a piece of fabric loosely bunched with flowers, (electric) candles, statues of Kwon Yen, or other dieties, goddesses, or women figures you would like present. A vessel or bowl of water signifies many things to many people, and at SARAH it reminds us of the sustainer of life, our first womb, and/or represents Earth's blood that flows to nourish our planet,
Step 5. Before the women arrive, be sure to be completely set up. Give yourself about 15 minutes or longer to sit in your Tent and practice your centering meditation. Start with gratitude for yourself as host of the Red Tent. Your energies set the tone for everyone's experience. When you are relaxed and centered, you are not distracting from the experience. Other items may be essential oils or stones, or a ring worn by an ancestor. or loved one. You may even place a ring you wear on the alter so it captures the spirit and energy of your Red Tent and reminds you constantly of your Red Tent experience.
Invite women to bring an item to place on the alter that they can take home with them when they leave.
Step 6. Begin with a short rundown of how your time together will go.
Step 7. Cover Circle Principles, the talking piece, and Listening tips. Get acknowledgement of agreement from everyone. This is crucial to create a safe space.
Opening and closing your circle
One way of opening your circle is to have everyone stand and hold hands. (Remember your right down, left up practice).
Start with an expression of gratitude and invite everyone to pause in their heart to acknowledge everyone in the Tent.
You may choose to start with an opening blessing or prayer that all voices are heard, all creativity is unleashed, all hearts are opened, and an environment of trust is profound. This is the place where you synthesize all hearts. Honor the space as well as each woman.
Begin your dialogue. Choose the order or direction you that will flow, or you may choose a "popcorn" style.
skills to allow space and breath after and before each speaker.
Closing your circle is very important to "seal"and honor your time together.
Close in the same fashion you opened your circle. Invite everyone to say a word that expressed the way they
You may invite women to bring a dish to share, or provide some beverages after you closed your circle. Eating is
great in a Red Tent!
Facilitating Your Circle
Now that you have created a sacred space, careful facilitation is equally important.
Practice Circle Principles
Facilitate, don't teach. Remember, you are in circle, and while you may be sharing information, an effective facilitator will ask a lot of questions and/or encourage dialogue or journaling after you share your knowledge.
Items suggested for a Red Tent
Red Fabric is not a must, but symbolically impactful in a Red Tent that is not an actual red tent. Even if the material is draped over a door, or laced around the room, creating a visual of a red tent is powerful.
Lots of pillows to get comfortable If you are outdoors, an outdoor rug
Low lights and candles (electric are recommended)
A bowl of chocolate is always good
An alter, including items your guests may choose to add
by Jean Shinoda Bolin
from The Millionth Circle
The following are some suggestions for creating a successful circle:
Create sacred space. This includes physically preparing a space to accommodate the participants in a circle, usually with a centerpiece or altar.
Listen with compassion and for wisdom. This includes listening without an agenda, suspending judgment, being curious and finding the underlying meaning in others' statements. Also, it is listening for wisdom as it comes through each participant.
Speak from your heart and experience. Speak one at a time. This includes saying what is true for you and speaking to the center of the circle, not to another individual. We offer our experience and feelings to the circle, not our advice. Also, we speak one at a time and invoke a talking piece when needed, to ensure that all are heard.
Invite silence and reflection when needed, in you and in the circle. This includes listening to our own inner guidance before speaking. Also, we request silence and reflection in the circle when we feel it is needed.
Take responsibility for your experience and your impact on the circle. This includes demonstrating self-respect and self-restraint. We self-monitor to ensure that our needs and expectations are being met. We ensure our contribution adds to the positive experience of all in the circle.
Keep the confidence of the circle. This refers to our confidentiality agreements. What is spoken in the circle, stays in the circle to help ensure a safe environment for sharing our experiences and feelings.
Make decisions, when needed, by consensus. This refers to our decision making process. Should a circle need to make a decision, it is generally desirable to come to a consensus. These guidelines can be used as a starting point for group agreements in any circle, knowing that each group will add or delete as they see fit.
Set intention with your circle before beginning. Create a foundation for understanding. Sometimes this is just a sentence to remind everyone why they were invited. It's a good idea to get everyone's agreement to the Circle Principles and ask for any questions. (usually ideal for your first circle together but a good practice.)