When women gather in a circle with a sacred center, a space is created which calls forth collective wisdom and inspires personal passion. The world needs both right now. As women of spirit and faith bringing our skills and leadership in so many different ways, we all need the nurturing, validation and synergy that a circle provides for its women.
We invite you to create a circle of women in your community. We offer here some simple resources and guidelines to help you get started.
Step-by-step Guidelines for Hosting a Local Circle
1) Decide when and where. You want to have at least 2 hours together in a place where you can have privacy and quiet. This may be your kitchen table or living room – or it may be outdoors in a park, at the beach or in your own backyard. You hold your circle anytime of the day or evening depending on when women are most likely to be available.
2) Invite 3-6 women to join you. This invitation can be sent by email, snail mail or by phone. Use language that feels comfortable for you and your community of women friends. You can call your circle anything you want – Women’s Wisdom Circle, Circle Sharing, Spirit Circle, Dream Circle, Support Circle – or if you think this word “circle” will be confusing for your friends, you can just invite them for a special “girl’s night out”.
3) Arrange your space so that chairs are roughly in a circle, with a sacred center. In the center, on a small table or even on the floor, you can create a simple altar with a beautiful scarf, a candle, some flowers, and a few objects that have meaning to you. Items from nature can help symbolize our connection to the earth.
4) When everyone has arrived and had some time to mingle, invite the women to gather in the circle. You can speak some words about why you have invited them and help them understand the circle process:
• Let them know that this is going to be a different kind of conversation, a structured opportunity for each woman to speak from her heart and to listen deeply to others.
• Share some simple circle guidelines. There are several examples of different guidelines on this website– or you can mix and match to create your own.
• You might introduce a “talking object” to help focus attention on one speaker at a time – a seashell, stick, stone or any small object. The woman holding the talking object is the only one who can speak. She sets it in the center of the circle when she is done and another woman can pick it up. This helps break our usual patterns of chattering with one another in multiple conversations.
• You can have a question or topic to focus your circle sharing. Keep it upbeat and positive at first, inviting dreams, visions and hopes. The conversation will be drawn deeper naturally.
• You might also read a poem, prayer or other inspirational words to begin the circle as you light the center candle.
• After your welcome and introduction, invite each woman to check in with her name and maybe one sentence or one word – How are they feeling right now?
• Then you can invite women to use the talking object to begin to respond to the question.
• Women may be quiet or uncertain. There may be times of silence. This is not a bad thing though it does sometimes make people uncomfortable at first. You can speak quietly after the first silence to acknowledge these things.
• Some women may also be very talkative and begin to dominate the conversation in the circle. You might need to call for a moment of silence and then invite new voices or remind that all voices are important.
• As you come to the end of your time together, leave time for one last round so each woman’s voice is heard again – maybe reflecting on how this circle felt to her in one sentence.
• You might want to schedule another circle at this time. Maybe you want to meet on a regular basis –weekly, monthly or quarterly. What does the group need?
• Always close the circle by blowing out the candle and speaking some words of closure like “This circle is now complete.”