Braided Women Gathering

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Our Story

Our Story 2018

Posted on 6 September, 2019 at 21:10

Our Story 2018

In 2018 we enjoyed two wonderful Braided Women Gatherings.

The Creation Group decided to host a one day event to celebrate Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice Gather In - 23rd June 2018

This was held on the Saturday closest to the Winter Solstice. We choose the newly refurbished Allendale Community Hall which is situated in the picturesque Lyttleton Harbour. The hall was transformed with a wall of red fabric creating a beautiful circle space and separating the dining area. An abundance of seed lights and natural decorations helped make the space feel cozy, warm and inviting.

This event was about coming together, connecting and sharing. A time to reflect and move within, as well as to celebrate the turning of the seasons towards the light.

We started around 1.30 pm with a Welcome ritual, circle dances followed by a sharing circle. After a break for refreshments, Anne lead us in another circle dance to honour Demeter, then Nilguen invited the women to place their sacred objects on the altar, speaking about the object if they wished to. After this the women were invited to sit in silence and contemplate the following questions:

1) How do I hold my soul in the darkness?

2) What riches, learning’s or gains come from the darkness for me

3) What do I want to bring to light in my life

A nice dinner was prepared by the lovely Rushani from Governors Bay. After eating we moved into the evening with a ritual of transitioning from the dark to the light by walking through a “tunnel” formed by rows of women on each side. Every woman walked through the tunnel alone, optionally with eyes closed and gently guided by the women on her side.

During this ritual we sang: “You are a brave woman, you are such a brave bold woman, walking through the darkest night alone...”

The day closed around 9.30pm. The feedback from the women was that it was a wonderful, moving day and just what they needed in the middle of winter.

The Braided Women’s Gathering 16-18 of November 2018

After the success of the previous November Gathering we decided to head back to Staveley Camp set in the foothills of Mount Hutt. Once again we had a great turnout with 63 women in total attending the weekend. The venue is ideal for us as it offers space for women to camp, bring motor homes, caravans or stay in the bunks rooms. The outdoor space was utilised for a number of spontaneous activities during the weekend as well.

Once again the venue was transformed into a beautiful scared space. The main hall had the Goddess banners displayed around the room, a lovely centrepiece, candles and seed lights to create a warm inviting sacred space. The fire in the dining room was used to keep the chill off the evenings and was appreciated by all.

Friday afternoon, we welcomed the women with ceremony, song and dance, followed by an introductory Circle. After dinner we invited the women to place their sacred object on the centre piece which would become our altar for the weekend. Some lovely deep sharing about what the women had chosen to bring followed. This flowed onto some circle dances and chanting. The evening ended with women chatting around the fire or under the stars.

Saturday morning started with a morning dance for those awake early enough. Our guest speaker for Saturday was Shelia Sutherland who shared her life’s journey with the Goddess. This evolved into very deep sharing circles, both before and after lunch.

There was time in the afternoon for optional activities. The dining room was in good use by Rosie who took some of the women through the process of making their own soul cards. Other activities included massage, jewellery making and scar honouring with gold leaf.

Saturday evening we moved into our main ritual which had in its essence movement and chanting in accordance with our theme of “Claiming our Power for change”. It was a truly powerful experience, held with sacred intent, accompanied by great music to which we sang and danced through a passage created by women in the room. Indeed, by the end of the ritual our voices were rusty from chanting and we were “gloriously” exhausted!

A delicious supper was provided with a dance party afterwards for the energetic movers and shakers. It felt that this evening was very much enjoyed by all women who took part...

Sunday morning once again started with the morning dance for those who were awake. Our guest wise woman for the Sunday was Jacinda. She spoke of her work with young women and how this had evolved into working with their mothers as well. A true community minded woman with a great capacity to engage young and older equally. Once again her talk was followed by a deep and wonderful sharing circle. At the same time Anne held a small circle for the women who were interested in setting up their own circles which was well received by the women involved.

After lunch we had out last sharing circle, contemplating what we had gained from the Gathering and what we were taking home. This lead into our Closing Ceremony, followed by fond farewells to old and new friends. Towards the end of our closing ceremony circle a powerful storm blew through the camp, which led to a mad scramble of rushing to take down tents before they were blown away.

During the weekend delicious vegetarian and vegan food was prepared for us by Jenny Rahmen and her team: Kathy and Rosie (thanks for the desserts and supper) and Tracy and Lucy

Sunday evening the creation group stayed on to pack up and debrief. The storm that had earlier blown through still had a bite to it and we woke to snow on the hills just behind the camp.

A very full and eventful Gathering which we felt was worth all the hard work and preparation that had gone into creating it!

Our Wise Women Speakers 2018

Sheila Sutherland


I am thrilled and looking forward to being a part of the 2018 Braided Women's Gathering. I find being in the collective energy of women to be an inspiring and necessary part of life. For me, there is a tangible power when women gather together. Magic happens.

With this year's theme of Claiming our Power for Change, I will draw on my life's journey of overcoming adversity and reclaiming my sovereignty. I feel honoured to share my journey with the women attending. 



Sheila Sutherland is passionate about her heart based business Heart and Soul Healing. She offers a range of healing modalities to release sabotaging patterns and energy blockages. Her specialty is in emotional and trauma release work. 

She holds a loving and compassionate space for clients and supports them to find connection with their true essence and clarity.

She has had extensive training over the past three decades in a range of personal development courses and trainings which benefit her in daily life and in working with clients.

She has a wealth of experience in holding sacred space and working with the elements and directions.

She has been running groups for women and men since the early 80's and feels truly blessed to have found her hearts calling.

She had been in a women's Mystery School since 1999 with Shematrix. She is a fully licensed Guide in Shematrix and co-facilitates on women's 3 day weekends which are called The Gift and on men's weekends, which are called The Grail.

The work is based around a rite of initiation into the mysteries of the feminine and the weekends are held in sacred space.

She lives her life with honesty, integrity, authenticity and kindness.

To find out more you can visit

I'm Jacinda – consciousness shifter, disruptor, yoga practitioner & teacher, young women advocate and circle facilitator, big picture educator and mama of 2 young women.

I am passionate about the power of community and for the past four years I have been developing and holding a programme for young women, E Tu: Arise founded on this passion.

E Tu: Arise is a year-long immersion for girls on the cusp of adolescence and we now have a Year 3 group with 15/16 year olds.

E Tu: Arise provides a safe space where young women are nourished and empowered to honour the truth in their heart and learn to stand firm within themselves and with others. You could think of the group as an extended family of women, sharing wisdom and skills with girls in our communities and in doing so, supporting our families to raise girls who are radiant, resilient and real.

A guiding question for whanau at this time may be: How are we to hold our daughters effectively? How are we to provide containment in the years that she presses for “freedom” at the same time as allowing fluidity so as her developing self will emerge unscathed?

Under the umbrella of E Tu:Arise we also hold sensuality circles for young women.

This is what I offer to bring and share this year at the Braided Women’s Festival.

Categories: Previous Gatherings

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0:44 on 9 October, 2019 
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