The first ever Women’s Circle I held was back in 1999 in the early days of my calling to ‘bring the feminine and masculine into balance‘.
I was living in Richmond on the outskirts of London and my flat was walking distance from Richmond Park – a vast and ancient landscape that was home to a world of wildlife including numerous herds of red and fallow deer.
Nature had always been my friend – my go-to place to find connection and resourcing and this park was an otherworldly bubble of timelessness on the doorstep of my fast-paced urban life in corporate London. I visited the park regularly to keep my head above water but I didn’t appreciate the true mystery of the land there until I had left my career in marketing communications and embarked on my new path of purpose. This, I later understood, was the path of my feminine leadership.
My then partner was living with me. We had met through two Earth Wisdom teachers that were to become my guides over the next 10 years and, as a landscape gardener, he was deeply connected to nature and the elements himself.
Holding this day long Women’s Circle was an important step for me into my passion and I remember spending days sinking into a beautiful creative process with the design. I loved every moment of dreaming into the experience I wanted to create. I was hosting the event in the Spring in a gorgeous hotel right next to the park so that I could invite the women to spend some ‘solo’ time in the ‘otherworld’ of this nature-haven. To my dismay, however, a good way though my design process, I started to feel stuck and frustrated.
It was a part of the day where I wanted to appreciate the energy of the ‘healthy masculine’ and yet I had no idea how that was meant to happen. I remember spending ages trying to ‘figure it out’ and getting caught in ideas that didn’t seem to land. Eventually, I realised I had to stop, get out of my head and take another tack.
As was my way, I went to the park for inspiration and whilst holding an intention to receive help, I remembered that my partner had recently stumbled across a deer antler and brought it home with him. I was a little envious as I’d always wanted to find one. Spring was the season that they shed their antlers but despite the number of beautiful stags in the park, it was not easy to come across one of these sacred gifts. I remember focusing my whole walk on searching but still, I went home empty handed. I can’t explain why, but I couldn’t seem shake off the call to find an antler. I just knew I needed to let go of trying!
That evening I had a little nudge inside that told me to ask for help. So I took myself off to a little meditation space in my flat and listened to the nudge.
I closed my eyes and I asked ‘Life’ to help me. I followed my intuition and entered a kind of shamanic dream in my mind’s eye, focusing my intention on finding an antler if I was meant to. To my surprise, what I visualised was not just one antler, it was a pair. And so, in my innocence and without any hesitation, I asked Life to help me find a pair of deer antlers. I could have easily judged what unfolded in my mind as purely imagination. In my inner vision, I walked through a park side gate, one that I don’t often use but which soon joined a path that I walked nearly every day. I started to follow this path and, as if receiving instructions from thin air, I was guided to ‘walk to the gathering of trees until you get to the oak tree on your right’. When I got to the oak tree the guidance continued ‘walk around the tree once and find the path beside the stream’.
So I followed the instructions in my dream and carried on ‘…walk along the path beside the stream and you will see.’ I carried on and then stopped. In my vision, after about 30 metres, I saw a pair of antlers… just as I’d asked. Awe inspired, I allowed myself to receive these antlers and completed my dreaming process with gratitude.
But this was just the dream.
Afterwards, I remember feeling split. A part of me felt deeply connected and so I had a sense that I had sent a prayer that was very real. Another part of me thought it was just another pile of ‘woo woo’ and that I was wasting my time. The voice of ‘woo woo’ could have easily won but the next day, my curiosity peaked and I was up early with the bird song. I couldn’t resist going straight to the park.
As I left the flat, I remembered to head to the side gate and over to the path I had been shown. It was a beautiful day and I noticed that I felt different that morning. I was holding an awareness of my prayer but I wasn’t attached to finding anything. I followed faithfully what had happened in my waking dream and surrendered to the experiment. I walked down the path to the oak tree on my right. I walked around the tree after glancing over my shoulder to check that no-one would catch me in my ‘woo woo’ world. The little stream was there on my right. I’d passed it many times but not really paid attention to the beauty of it’s trickling Spring song or where it flowed to. Off I went gently down the path in the direction of the stream, thinking that this was probably the end of my little adventure and fully expecting the voice of doubt to claim ‘I told you so’.
The rest, as they say, is history… or perhaps it’s her-story.
I cannot easily express the experience of love and wonder that exploded in my heart as I walked along that path beside the stream and saw the crown of majesty that this precious being had dropped so elegantly before crossing the river into his next cycle. Two beautiful Fallow Deer antlers lay there… as a gift, quite clearly, for me. I dropped to my knees in humility. It was hard to take it in – the deep truth of our divine relationship to the greater field of life – right there in plain site. I am not separate. We are not separate.
As I looked in astonishment, every minuscule moment of doubt I’d had falling helplessly away, I sensed this animal’s energy, in all his majestic grace, bowing his head to the ground and leaving his sacred gift there before crossing the path over the stream into the next part of his journey. After curling myself over these antlers for a few minutes in tearful reverence, I followed my intuition once again. I said a prayer of gratitude to Life and to this gentle beast, gathered his gifts in my coat, and – as if in full ceremony with life, reclaiming my own balanced power – followed in his hoof steps across the stream.
That day Mother Life opened a door in my awareness that was impossible to close again. She showed me the truth of my interrelatedness with life and the power of co-creation inherent in my willingness to surrender doing it all alone.
I was given the perfect gift for my very first Women’s Circle as the power of this mighty beast accompanied me into the holding space that day. Each woman held his antlers. Each woman felt the gift of his presence and his potent masculine power. His beauty and magic in the room with us – and as an undeniable expression of the mystery of co-creation at work.
This is a story from over 20 years ago and yet it is timeless. As I write this now and re-member this experience in my body, I can feel my heart bursting open again in awe of this creature and this experience, the gift from which I have sitting on my desk beside me as I write. The evidence still with me. Real as ever. Living proof that my life is nothing but a co-creation with something so much greater than just ‘little me’.
Since then there have been plenty more of these kinds of serendipitous experiences in my life. Not all of them have been quite as irrefutable but, none the less, I have learned that it is in those moments that we consider to be ‘co-incidences’ that we are invited to stop to look much closer… to see life with new eyes. How can we see these ‘extra-ordinary’ experiences as a glimpse through the veil of our personal limitations –an invitation to touch the mystery of life in which you and I are not at the effect of life but co-creators with life?
How can we surrender the desire to do it all alone and open to the full potential for collaboration and co-creation with the greater mystery of life and with those who accompany us on this path of purpose?
I didn’t realise it back then but now I do. This is The Power of Circle.
Since this experience way back, I have held hundreds of Circles and each one of them has been an incredible privilege. Holding space for women in Circle has always been my passion and yet it is only now, as I enter my crone years, that it feels right to share the experience and wisdom that I’ve received along the way, and teach other women how to hold space in Circle.
This Circle wisdom is at the heart of our purpose and vision in the Rising Connected Community and it’s why we have created this new learning journey and training for women coaches, healers and change leaders who are called to hold space, in some way, in Circle.
If you’d like to find our more about The Power of Circle click here