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.
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, of course are free to share your own experiences
- The sacredness of the gathering venue is honoured by the prohibition of recreational drugs and alcohol (where possible we will allocate an outside space for smokers)
- While all are free to participate as feels fitting. It is important to be on time, for communal meals, and sessions. There will be drums or bells at 15 and 5 minutes prior to starting, to indicate the time. For some sessions, we may need to close the doors to late comers, until an appropriate pause occurs.
- We ask that 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
Women take responsibility for their own well-being.
Gatherings are inherently powerful. Please be sensitive to your own needs and well-being. We ask that you look after your precious Self. We will provide open listening, loving support and hugs.
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 for the whole program. 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.
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 it’s good practice to enter the room with awareness and as quietly as we can; find our spot ( cushion/chair ) around the altar and become present. Let’s avoid chatting or behaving noisily, always being mindful that we are actually entering a sacred space.
Being on time and ready is important as when we are settling together into sitting in circle we are reaching wonderful stillness and depth easier! However, should you happen to come a little late, come into the room quietly and find your spot in the circle without talking if you can.
We do not eat or do anything (art work/ writing/reading etc...) while we sit in a sacred circle space because it is important to be fully represent and listen to the other women and to be ready to speak when it’s our turn. 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.
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 while she holds it in her hands the group is silent as we listen and gifting her the space to speak and 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. The stone is then put back on the altar where it rests until we sit together again.
It is without saying that we aim to be fair and mindful of each other (and group seize ) and do not hold onto the stone unnecessarily, begin to wonder way of off topic or abuse the situation for our own gain.
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, a sharing circle of course lives from participation.
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.