When the topic of a women’s circle comes up, many modern women ask, “What is a women’s circle and why should I attend one?” The reason this question is asked by so many women today is because we’ve lost touch with a lot of ancient traditions that were designed to empower us and give us strength. Fortunately, women’s circles are regaining popularity and presence, with many experiencing the profound effects these circles have on mental and physical health. A women’s circle is an intentional gathering to unite women, build community, and elevate our healing and inner strength. Women’s circles offer a special experience that elicits feelings of belonging, safety, and support. Read below to learn more about women’s circles and why you should attend them.
History of Women's Circles
Women’s circles have been held for centuries, spanning different cultures, belief systems, and landscapes. Women have gathered in circles to share stories and survival skills amongst a fire, to celebrate womanly milestones with music and dancing under the moon, to menstruate together for protection and rest in red tents, and to comfort, uplift, and heal one another without worrying about the watchful eye of men. Historically, patriarchal societies that feared the power and rising of women discouraged women’s gatherings and circles. Resilient and determined as we are, women have always found a way back to each other to gather, whether in secret or in defiance. The history of the women’s circle is rich and diverse, showing us that the desire to gather women is something we’ve needed to foster since the beginning of humankind.
What Happens at a Women’s Circle
What happens in a women’s circle today can vary as much as it did for different indigenous tribes, cultures, and peoples in the past. There is usually a specific purpose or theme for gathering a women’s circle like a solstice or equinox circle to celebrate the season, a full or new moon to symbolize transformation or new beginnings, or just a gathering to discuss or express a specific and collective goal, concern, or interest. Some women’s circles may be considered very ceremonial and may even be deemed "out-there” when it comes to specific rituals or themes, while others are structured to feel more casual and familiar. The beauty of women’s circles is that they can include one or many kinds of activities such as meditating, writing, dancing, singing, art, yoga, relaxing, eating, sharing, performing ceremonies or rituals, sitting in silence, playing music, or just plain old hanging out with and speaking with other women. There is no right or wrong way to gather as women, but it’s nice to have some kind of loose or structured game plan since it is an intentional gathering. Fortunately, the host of the event is usually in charge of the planning aspect, as well as holding structure in the feminine container.
See what our upcoming women’s circle event at the Pellegrino Healing Center Salt Cave on Saturday, May 14th will include.
Emotional & Physical Health Benefits of Women’s Circles
Lower Stress. Studies show that attending a women's circle can help lower stress, which in turn helps lower blood pressure, improve digestion, and boost the immune system. Sarah Waxman, a women’s circle leader, says: “so many women are suffering from depression, loneliness, and anxiety, and this [a women’s circle] is literally designed to combat that.”
Decrease loneliness through connection with other women. In today’s day and age many women feel isolated regardless if they are partnered or not. Connecting with other women is a natural and healthy way to fulfill the essential human needs of belonging and connection.
Share without judgment. Women’s circles are safe spaces for women to be vulnerable and share what they’d like without apprehension or judgment. Everyone is asked to leave any judgmental tendencies outside of the space and come in as active and open-minded listeners.
Feel Safe & Secure. When we are in a space with other women without feeling the need to compete, we have a hormonal response that we’re safe. Our nervous systems calm, relaxing our muscles, slowing our heart rate, and making us feel more at ease.
Improve Self-Esteem & Self-Care. Going to meet new people or connect with current friends, sharing openly, or trying something different or interesting to you can build self-esteem and confidence. Taking in the theme or lessons from the circle, the love from connecting with other women, or the beauty of setting aside time for something nourishing, are all ways to practice self-care and reflection.
If you are looking to improve your physical and mental health by gathering with other women looking to do the same then it's time to join a women's circle! You can research women's circles near you or check our EVENTS PAGE.
Let us unite as women, supporting one another through struggles and encouraging one another to be the best version of ourselves. No matter what you’ve been through, no matter what your goals are, you can benefit from attending a women’s circle. Women's circles are open to women of all ages, backgrounds, and belief systems. We will learn, grow, and heal from our differences and our similarities. Come take in the many benefits of a women’s circle by being open-minded, non-judgmental, and most importantly, by being yourself. We are strong. We are resilient. We are here to support one another. We are women.
This article was written by Michelle Eggink, NTP