Join Me in the Red Tent
A few years ago I heard about this new movement within Paganism that was all about women reclaiming the sacredness of their menstrual cycles. I was even asked to help out with a questionnaire about how I feel about my menses and menstrual experiences for a book on that exact topic. Let’s just say at the time I was not the best candidate for that questionnaire. The idea of women embracing their monthly periods and seeing them as sacred was a ridiculous concept to me. I hated my periods. I suffer from endometriosis among other female reproductive-related issues, so the idea of loving my monthly “hell” was not a concept I could get on board with. I was vehemently against this new concept and I angrily fought the idea whenever I could. I refused to do any energetic or magickal work during my menses and I refused to go to any women’s blood ceremonies.
It turns out the Goddess had a different plan for me and my menstrual attitude, because here I am a couple of years later co-leading a local “red tent” tribe. How did I come to change my views so drastically on this concept you ask? It was not an easy journey, but it was a beautiful journey non-the-less. It all started with me meeting a fellow Pagan in one of my yoga teacher training classes. She was new to our cohort and on her first night she announced that she leads a group called “Our Goddess Gathering for Women’s Empowerment” and that they have open red tent events every month on the new moon. For some reason it was just the right time in my life for me to meet her because I was immediate drawn to her. I felt a strong pull from the Goddess to go talk to her after class and I did just that. After our first meeting I had already signed up to attend her next co-organizer meeting and I ended up helping put on their next red tent event. That month’s event was a yoni (vagina) printing and body painting workshop. I had never done a yoni painting before and it ended up being one of the most empowering experiences of my life! My first red tent event was truly magickal. I had never felt so safe and loved before, and so completely free. We had ceremony, we painted, we danced, and we laughed (all in the nude too). We collected our menstrual blood and poured into back into the earth, giving our blood back to the Great Mother Inanna. I must admit after this first experience I was hooked. I have since read and re-read “The Red Tent” by Anima Diamant. I am also an official co-organizer for our Goddess tribe and I help put on all of our monthly events. We hold events that not only honor our moon cycles, but that focus on self-empowerment and healing! Our events include things like yoga, dancing, ceremony, vision/goal boards, journaling, rape/domestic abuse healing circles, chanting, painting, and creating. The point of the red tent is to come together as sisters of the earth to hold sacred space for each other and all of our needs. Plain and simple the red tent is a place of healing and empowerment, a place to remember the collective knowledge of our ancestors, and to step into our roles as priestesses of the Godddess.
The most amazing part of this menstrual journey though is not that I got involved with a red tent group or that I have participated in blood ceremonies, but that I have started to see a genuine change in my own personal feelings towards my menses, my uterus, and my ovaries. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is to someone like me. I grew up in an abusive household, a household where women were subservient sinners who had to suppress their sexuality. I also have suffered so much pain from my reproductive medical issues that it is a really big deal to me to be finally feeling like I can embrace my monthly cycle. I finally see my menstrual cycle as something sacred and beautiful, pain and all.
I know I am not done on my menstrual journey, but I am so thankful to have ended up on the path I did. There are so many women who still need healing, who still need to learn how to become self-empowered, who need the Goddess. The red tent is just one way for women to find their healing and to find their voice. Will you join me fellow priestesses and sisters of the earth on this journey of healing and empowerment? We you join me in the red tent?