PROTOCOL FOR BRAIDED WOMEN GATHERINGS
The guidelines that have gradually evolved for our Gatherings, are based on respect: respect for the Sacredness that we create together, respect for the Earth, the environment, the energies that we draw in to support us, and for every woman present.
Our intention is for every woman to feel supported and comfortable, and able to participate to whatever degree is right for her.
A lot of care, thought, love and Divine energy goes into preparing our Gatherings so we may all have a unique, inspiring and transformative experience. If there is something that would help you feel more supported in your journeying with us, please come and talk with the Creation Group.
With this in mind, we ask that:
- Confidentiality of participants be respected always. What is shared during the Gathering, and particularly in Circle, is never discussed outside the Gathering without permission. You are, of course, free to share your own experiences.
- The sacredness of the gathering venue is honoured by refraining from use of recreational drugs and alcohol for the whole of the Gathering. (Where possible we will allocate an outside space for smokers).
- Timing, by the nature of the Gathering, can be somewhat flexible. We will use drums, gongs or bells at 15 and 5 minutes prior to starting sessions or meals. To help our Gathering flow with ease, and to honour our speakers we ask that you be settled ready to start sessions or meals 5 minutes prior to their commencement.
- For some sessions we may need to close the doors to late comers until an appropriate pause occurs.
- We ask that, unless you are unwell and have discussed this with the Creation Group, no bedding be brought into the Sacred Space for sessions, as this tends to encourage sleepiness, rather than respectful attentiveness to other's sharings.
- Where possible we will provide a quiet space for resting, separate from the main hall.
You offer your presence
Every woman's presence at the Gathering is precious and makes it special. We therefore ask that you offer your presence on site for the whole weekend. While most activities are completely optional, we consider the opening and closing ceremonies to be essential to the creation and holding of the sacred energy of the Gathering that supports us all. If for any reason this is not possible for you, please let us know in advance.
Women take responsibility for their own wellbeing.
Gatherings are inherently powerful. Please be sensitive to your own needs and wellbeing. We ask that you look after your precious Self. We will provide open listening, loving support and hugs.
The purpose of Braided Women Gatherings is to enable heart connections and inspiration, generate supportive networks in New Zealand and world-wide, and encourage Spiritual empowerment.....also to have fun and eat chocolate!!!
Guidelines for sitting in sacred sharing circle
When we sit together in a sacred sharing circle, we usually have a centre piece ( also called the altar, a decorated, usually round space on the ground where we place anything that is beautiful and sacred to us ) in the middle. We aim to have just one row of women around the altar and avoid double rows as we want to see each other and the centre piece unhindered.
In preparation to sitting in a sharing circle we enter the room in Silence with awareness, find our spot ( cushion/chair ) around the altar as quietly as possible, and become present, always being mindful that we are actually entering a sacred space.
Being on time and ready is important: It shows respect for others and for the Sacredness we create together However, should you happen to come a little late, make sure you come into the room in silence and find your spot quietly. There may be times when, if you are late, you may find the door closed and you have to wait until a suitable time, when you can be ushered in.
We do not eat while we sit in a sacred circle space. It is important to be fully present and listen to the other women and to be ready to speak when it’s our turn. Some women find that doing some knitting or other quiet and unobtrusive craft work helps them be present. Sometimes, we might feel sleepy and want to lie down or sleep, but that is actually distracting and in a way disrespectful as we are withdrawing our energy from the group. So if you feel too sleepy and really need to lie down for your own self care, just very quietly withdraw from the circle
We use a Talking Stone when we sit in sacred circle. This can be any object we declare sacred and fitting for the purpose of being handed around. It is picked up from the altar by the women who starts the sharing and for the entire time she holds it in her hands the group is silent as we listen and gift her the space to speak with our full attention. When she has finished we usually acknowledge her sharing by saying :“ blessed be” or “thank you.” The Talking Stone is then passed on to the next woman on the right hand side. We keep the stone going around the circle until all women present have a sense of completion, Or for however many rounds fit the time-frame, or have been pre-decided.. The stone is then put back on the altar where it rests until we sit together again. Of course we aim to be fair and mindful of each other (and group size) and do not hold onto the stone too long It is completely okay to not speak when the stone comes our way; we simply hold it for a brief moment to check in and the pass it on. Sometimes we are simply not ready to speak or don’t have anything to add yet.
We do not interrupt the women who speaks at any time, even when it is difficult and we feel an urge to respond directly or want to jump up and hold to comfort her etc...it takes a little practice and trust that we can“ hold “each other safely through our presence and loving energy. It is not always easy to wait for our turn to hold the stone and speak but a wonderful way of deepening a heart sharing and practicing a loving form of self discipline.