It’s replenishing, connecting and healing to gather with sisters, so here are some simple tips to run your own circle or gathering. By gathering in circles, we are moving out of the old patterns of isolation, and into more connection and community, where we can truly support each other in real life.
First, decide on the size, location and purpose for your gathering.
Are you inviting a friend or 2 over to your place for a little circle?
Or would you like to arrange a larger gathering somewhere?
These tips provide a framework for your circle. Feel free to change/add/leave out whatever feels aligned for you.
There are no rules. Gathering with sisters is a way to connect, listen to each other, share our stories, and it gives more depth to have a focus or purpose for your circle.
Plan the size, time and place
To begin, obviously plan a time and place, and let your friend/s know about it. If it’s a larger gathering, you can set up a facebook event page to share details. Keep it private if it’s just for a select group of friends by word of mouth, or make it public so it’s easier for people to find, and so they can share it with their friends and in local groups.
I always trust that whoever gathers in circle are the perfect people to be there, so I am in total trust. We’ve had 3 women gather which was very intimate with lots of space for deep sharing, and larger circles of more than 20 women which is beautifully nourishing in a different way.
‘Call in’ the women
Take some moments on your own (or with a friend if you’re organising it together), take some deep breaths and energetically ‘call in’ the women to your circle. For extra potency you can set a crystal grid and there’s a free resource showing you how to do that in the Tribe area (see below).
Prior to the event, think about what is the purpose of your circle?
For example, at our recent solstice gathering, our main intentions were:
- gather with women
- connect with our hearts and wombs
- send our love out to the earth and all who need it
- plant the seeds of our visions for the year ahead
Here is a basic layout of a basic circle, expanded below:
- Set up the space
- Sit in circle
- Guide some grounded, deep breaths to come into sacred space
- Introduce the theme/topic/process or do an introduction round of sharing
- Any other activities, processes, sharing
- Close circle
Before women arrive – set up the space
First, set up the space. This can setting up cushions and rugs, and make a centrepiece which may include cloths, flowers, candles and beautiful things, as simple or elaborate as you like. You can also ask women to bring their own cushions and flowers or beautiful things to contribute to decorating the space. You might like to set up an altar where people can place special items during the circle, and take them home again after. Or not. Don’t let any of this stop you – just keep it as simple as you like, because the main thing required is your presence.
When women arrive
First, greet your women and welcome them warmly. Some women may be feeling nervous if this is their first circle, so it’s your role as circlekeeper is to provide a safe, welcoming space.
Before the circle begins, you may like to smudge each woman with sage or palo santo (aromatic wood) to cleanse the women before you start, or you could simply sit in circle and ask women to take some deep breaths and imagine pure, white light cleansing them.
To begin – sit in circle and come into the present moment
You might like to light a candle first. To begin, I guide a grounding, connecting meditation to bring everyone into their bodies, and step into sacred space together. Once women are seated in circle, ask them to close their eyes and breathe deeply… and then release and relax on the outbreath. Do this a few times. You might also like to guide them to connect with the earth beneath them, and the sky above, and then connect in their own heart, then slowly open your eyes.
Share the Circle Guidelines – confidentiality, safety, sisterhood
At this point, you can officially welcome the sisters into the circle, and you may like to share some simple guidelines for safety and reassurance. You can see a more in depth article on creating safety HERE. (link will open in a new tab). Some basic guidelines are:
CONFIDENTIALITY – what happens in circle stays in circle. You may speak of your own experience to others, but don’t speak about another women’s experience.
SAFETY and RESPECT – listen with the ears of your heart to each sister. All feelings and emotions are welcome. There is no need to ‘save’ or distract another woman from her feelings. Tears, anger, sadness… these are all welcome in circle. When facilitated with this intention, the circle itself provides a safe container for women to feel more deeply. Notice your own response to how someone else feels, and take responsibiilty for you own feelings, rather than blaming or projecting it onto another woman, even if you feel an internal reaction to something someone says. Notice any feelings as messages to explore more deeply what’s happening for yourself.
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER – in circle, we are all equal, we are all students and we are all teachers. We are all unique expressions of the goddess, so listen with the ears of your heart to each voice of the goddess speaking. Simply being held in circle and heard by our sisters is healing in itself. I always find it amazing to listen to each woman and hear aspects of myself in her.
ONE SISTER SPEAKS AT A TIME, WE ALL LISTEN – encourage women to be fully present to each other, rather than trying to think ahead to what you might say. Trust that whatever you need to share will become clear when it’s your turn. I have a rose quartz crystal heart that I hand around the circle, so the only woman speaking is the one holding the crystal heart. When she is finished, she hands it to the next person. You do not HAVE to speak. If the crystal heart comes to you, you are welcome to remain quiet and simply pass it to someone else.
Ask if anyone has any questions. You can share your plan for how the gathering will proceed, to give people an idea, or keep it a mystery! Some people do like a simple outline of what’s happening, especially if gathering in circle is new to them.
Guide your first process or introduce the purpose/topic for the evening
This is also a time to call in the directions or ancestors or goddesses or elements if you wish. Or not. Totally up to you.
For our solstice, the purpose of the circle was to connect with our hearts and wombs, and send our loving energy out to where it’s needed. I guided a connecting meditation into our wombs, to breathe deeply there and notice any sensations. Then I guided a visualisation to imagine a cord from your womb that connects with the earth, and a web of womb energy that connects us all together. We breathed into this connection, to feel this becoming stronger.
Once this network of womb energy was strong, we intentionally sent it out to all the beings of the world who need it – including the earth itself, the animals, children, underprivileged women, etc. Trust what arises.
Round of sharing
For your first round of sharing, you can ask each woman to share:
- her name and what brought her to the circle, ie why did she come?
- what is alive for her in this moment
Depending on the amount of women present, you may need to manage how long each woman speaks for. For a small group, each woman has more time, for a larger group, each woman has less time. For example, if you have a group of 10 women and each woman speaks for 3 minutes each, that makes half an hour. It can be worth asking women to share the essence of what is arising, rather than going into all the details of stories. If someone is speaking for longer, gently ask them to finish up so another sister can have a turn.
Your entire circle could simply be sharing in this way. See what arises. Sometimes there is a theme that appears… explore that more deeply if you wish.
There may be other things you want to include in your circle, including:
- chanting or toning or doing ‘OMs’ together – sound is very healing
- dancing – have music prepared, or bring instruments
- someone may like to share a poem, gift or process they can guide
- there may be a theme, or a moon phase or menstrual wisdom to explore (resources for this are in the Divine Mother Temple)
After the first round of introductions and sharing, we had some drumming and dancing at our circle, inviting women to ask for clarity about what seeds they would like to plant for the year ahead: qualities, values, goals, dreams, visions or anything. This is unique to each woman, and there are no wrong answers!
After the dancing, we returned to circle and have a round of sharing where each woman shared the seeds she is planting for the year ahead.
To end the circle
Do a final round of sharing, say goodbyes, and finish the circle.
Afterwards, the women might leave. Or you may have a cup of tea or shared meal. For our recent gathering, we asked women to bring a plate of food to share and look what happened!
Magic happens when we come together, sisters!
These tips are simply a guide. Let your intuition guide you to add or remove things, and make it your own.
I have a vision to support 333 women like you to run circles and create supportive networks in your local area.
The Divine Mother Temple is a sacred space online to deepen into your wisdom and have access to resources and support to run gatherings and events in real life too. You can download the free Divine Mother Temple guidebook below, for more information.
Blessings on your circle, sister. May you be guided by the goddess.
Together we rise.
Get your FREE Divine Mother Temple Guidebook.
The Divine Mother Temple is a sacred space to deepen your connection with earth wisdom & women’s mysteries, and remember the truth of who you are.