One thing that keeps popping up when I write about why paganism and witchcraft draws me, it’s “community”. To be a part of a group of like-minded individuals. To connect. Somewhere in the beginning of this hell-scape that is 2020 I’d decided to finally look into Red Tent ceremonies. To figure out what they were, how they worked, and what happened during one of these nights.
As I’ve spoken about in my Gender in Witchcraft series, I do think a place where women can meet and be accepted is a very important thing, so I was intrigued. Unfortunately, we’re in the middle of a terrifying global pandemic, one which has already had a (maybe permanent) effect on my health. I am not in a position to meet new people right now, especially not in groups. Travel is difficult. But I did want to do something with exploring these ceremonies and what they would mean to me. So, what to do?
I looked deeper into women’s circles and rituals related to that, and found that sometimes, instead of linking it to menstrual cycles, the rituals and gatherings are tied to the new moon. This spoke to me. Like I said before I’ve been doing some (ritual) self love work on and off for over a year now, but perhaps by choosing a time to set apart would be a very powerful thing. I could have one evening a month dedicated to self love and self care, no matter what else was happening in the world.
My first new moon was in June, where I explored what “being female” means to me. I’ve never felt drawn to the “sacred womb” and “sacred yoni” paradigms. Next to that, due my personal experiences I feel very little connection to them at all. (PMS so severe that I am on medication to no longer menstruate, not being able to become a mother, trauma, vaginism and my sexual- and gender orientation, just to name a few.) They are a part of my body, I acknowledge that and feel love to those organs for that, but they are not more sacred than say, my heart, or my eyes. So that first new moon I made sacred space, called out to my deities, sat down and meditated on that. Afterwards I drummed and drew oracle cards, and ended with a journaling session about what I had learned during the ritual and my thoughts. It was amazing. Richly empowering and eye-opening.
I’ve been setting time apart every new moon since then. I have it marked in my calender and try to keep those nights empty. So far, it worked. Some hurdles of course: my husband having the evening shift while working at home, so no space available upstairs. That night I just sat downstairs behind my laptop and wrote. Last new moon where I was having a terrible day and didn’t feel good enough to do ritual, I did it the day after. I’m approaching this very intuitively, for what I need in that moment. Somethimes that will be centred around a chosen theme (gender, community) and other times those themes will pop up naturally because of what is going on in my life (body positivity, boundaries).
So my message to you, dear readers, is this: Set time apart for yourself. To explore yourself. To find those answers within you that you’ve been looking for for a while. Pick a time (the new moon, the full moon, Sunday, the festivals, the first of the month, whatever works for you!) and keep your calender clear. Create your sacred space. Sit with yourself and listen. Ask yourself the difficult questions and listen to what you have to say. Without judgement and with acceptance. Work towards loving and empowering yourself, a small step at a time. You might be just as surprised as me with how this will change not only yourself, but the world around you.