Soon after leaving the glow and warmth of the retreat I entered another loving home. Amber (a wonderful cook, super mother and now a lovely friend) and her doting husband Stevie! Also three children Kaleb Noelle and Zeke, plus dogs Tank and Dude. Over the next couple of nights at Rose Grove Mobile Home park I felt taken in and cared for by the whole family.
Life with a busy park to take care of is never straight forward, and Stevie and Amber were over the moon to have a couple of weeks off work to catch up on all their house jobs. They live in a beautiful area where I was free to roam the Mcmanemins pub with it’s beautiful Japanese spa and huge gardens and have an ‘admin day’ using the wifi and endless coffee refills st the pub (Honestly I had about 7 cups).
There is a lot of tour planning that goes into any magical menstrual tour and things change on a day by day basis and some days my eyes are spinning at looking at the tiny screen on my phone. A lot seemed to have happened while I was unplugged in the retreat (where phones blissfully didn’t work). We were all joking about the overwhelm we might experience when we came back into range and mine was pretty intense!!
I’m just feeling lucky that Amber answered my call and still was cool about me staying last minute even though she thought I had somewhere else to say for those nights. That’s the kind of people her and Stevie are – generous and open-hearted. I’d also like to thank Noelle who slept on the floor of the lounge to let me have her bed for the two nights Xx
Time passed happily by in this home, with beers and wine by the fire outside at night, and under the shelter of the porch in the early evening. Amber and Stevie even took me to Hagg Lake in the morning of the Red Tent, which was so cool!! Tank ploughed his way in and generally swam after sticks and Stevie took a dip too. I loved sitting on a log in the sun and looking out over the deep blue yonder; a lake surrounded by some of the tallest and most special big pine trees I had ever seen.
Afterwards we went to the largest Red Wood sequoia tree in the whole area and I stood under it’s shade for a while. It was magnificent!!
Soon it was time to cook and prep for the Moondays Red Tent and Amber and I set about chopping things while Amber created lovely food. It was fun in the kitchen making salad from Steve’s home grown leaves – huge abundant crops of leaves that only took 6 weeks to grow… Aw I wish that were the case in Wales (Lee would love it). Steve is a green-fingered man passionate about growing food organically and cultivating beautiful flowers. He is trying to grow the elusive Moon Flower this year – a rare beauty that only opens it’s flowers at night.
It was sad setting off from this vibrant family home. Even after Moondays ended and it was time to leave I still didn’t quite feel like letting Amber go!! Here’s Amber’s food.
The Magical Menstrual Tour workshop at Moondays was short but sweet…. I was given this cool little slot right at the beginning of the tent, usually reserved for ice-breaking – and breaking the ice was exactly what I intended to do! There is no other topic that I know of that invokes such a pent-up and grateful outpouring of personal stories and conversation than speaking about our menstrual cycles!! I was fully charged and ready to go!
I knew I only had an hour and new women were joining the circle randomly as they arrived so I spoke lightning fast in and rarely took a breath, in order to share as much as humanly possible with the women there… and although I didn’t cover as much as I wanted to (but when do you ever?) I still feel the message of self-care had resonated with many of the women, from their excited reactions nodding heads and in the sharing of their stories. It was awesome to have some very knowledgeable women in the audience too; always an utter blessing, thanks especially to you Sam for your hormone knowledge Xx And thank you dear women for contributing your stories too. It was wonderful to share some pre-menstrual tips with you!
I loved that a few women came to me afterwards and asked to see the menstrual products I had offered to talk about. I showed them a menstrual cup and my trusty EcoFemme pantyliner pad explaining the benefits of using one or both. They were excited about helping the environment and using these products and it made me very happy to imagine more plastic pads NOT being used 🙂
It was then time to open the official red tent circle for the 17 or so women present. We sang “Earth my body, Water my blood, Air my breath and fire my spirit” (such a beautiful chant I’m taking home to Wales with me) then we sat down to a short guided meditation designed to ‘land’ us in the space. Like my dear friends in Wales who run their own Druid ceremonies we finally called in the four directions evoking the energies of the four seasons.
We were very lucky to meet Kaya Singer, guest speaker at the tent and author of her new book Wiser and Wilder: A soulful path for Visionary women entrepreneurs. Check the book out here!
Kaya spoke for a while about the three archetypes of the woman’s life cycle; maiden mother and crone giving the message that we mature over the years (especially at our second Saturn Return/ages 57 or 58) into our role of becoming a ‘mentor’ . At this point we know ourselves and can be there for others:
Maiden – Feel invincible, risk-taking, feeling free, not responsible for anything, not worrying about things, ends around the first Saturn Return.
Mother – Connected to the mother Earth, helping everyone, working really hard, figuring out your role.
Crone – Energy is going within, Becoming a mentor, knowing yourself, being there for others in a support role slightly different from the Mother role.
Then she invited us to connect with our own inner wise women to identifying our own ‘vision’ and what might be holding us back in achieving it. We had a focused sharing around the circle; 2-3 minutes speaking about what drives us and what we feel our contribution to be in the world. There were a lot of wonderful visions, wonderful non-visions, and honest sharing in the circle.
Kaya and I
Afterwards we had a scarf dance!
Susan, her daughter Jewel, Amber, Noelle and I had beautifully set up the space for the 17 women at the pretty Soma Space in Portland city, and during setting up Susan had shared with me what had lit up her desire to provide a space for women to rest and renew. It was her discovery of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant; a book that had unintentionally set off the entire Red Tent movement. I resonated with that, as I was moved deeply by that book too. And as for me – Why did I choose to set up the Red Tent at home in North Wales? Alexandra Pope directly dared me to at the apprenticeship training!! Who could refuse that call to arms?!
Susan’s wider vision is very expansive; to create a ‘bricks and mortar’ tent; a permanent womb like beautifully decorated space for women to go to, bleeding or not, for a pamper or just a cup of tea. It would be a woman only place of retreat, the heart of which would be a central meeting place/café with juices teas and certain delicious themed alcoholic drinks (like bloody Mary cocktails!), and light food and snacks.
It would be bohemian, silks, velvets, lush reds… On either side of this café space would be quick affordable spa treatments and services like massages, foot rubs and hair braiding, henna, tarot/divinatory readings. There would also be a meeting space for events classes ceremonies blessingways and workshops and a boutique selling remedies, reusable menstrual products, books, tea blends, and Moondays merchandise with some profits going towards a scholarship/fund for women who aren’t able to attend due to Red tent entry costs etc. Susan is currently working towards this goal and believes in shifting the paradigm of negativity around our cycles and righting the paradigm of the divine feminine in our society.
Me and Susan
Wishing Susan the best in her endeavor to make the Red Tent Concept more mainstream and thanks for having me at Moondays Red Tent Xx