Each New Moon for the past 10 months I have helped to erect a Red Tent Temple in the Philadelphia area. It is a traveling Red Tent, visiting the home of any sister who would like to make that space for the Temple. We have red fabric draped everywhere to give a physical manifestation to the Red Tent. There is often music softly playing in the background and a low hum of conversation. Often you will see a sisters sharing hearts in the kitchen, enjoying soup or other nosh that someone has brought to share. Other times you may notice another sister quietly coloring a mandala or reading a book. And other times you may just see her sitting on the floor with her head thrown back and her eyes closed simply feeling the peace the permeates the Tent.
Women who have begun their moon time (menstruation) are welcome at the Red Tent and we have had sisters as young as 15 attend. The ages of the women there seem fairly irrelevant as wisdom seems to be gleaned and shared with little regard to how many years you have been on the planet. We all have much to give and in the safety of the Red Tent all the sisters young and older are free to speak and share. And the Red Tent is a very safe place. Each sister is loved, accepted and free. There are no rules and there is no limit to what can or cannot be shared. Each one of us accepts upon herself the Sacred Trust of the other's heart and maintains the sacred space for her sister, knowing and trusting that she will do the same.
My part in the Red Tent is simply the contact person, the soup maker and the keeper of the red box of fabric, colored pencils, markers, sketch pads and other such sundries that all add to the sweet experience of the Red Tent. I help to maintain the space but those who attend are the ones who make the energy and sisterhood happen. Each Red Tent has it's own identity and mission. In the beginning I would worry about what to do or what would happen, but I soon realized that the Divine was indeed present and each gathering was an organic and free flowing event. With each New Moon I look forward to this gathering with the community of women that has formed and continues to grow because of it. We have even given birth to a sister Red Tent in Lancaster county which is maintained by another sister Wise Woman.
As we come upon the one year anniversary of the Red Tent, I stand in awe of it. What began in my living room with the impetus and energy of several 20something year old friends, still stands a year later traveling from home to home, through the devotion and quite honestly need, of the community of women at large. We have discovered how dearly we need this time together, to gather, dance and sing. We have discovered how dearly we need this time to love and share with each other. And we have realized that regardless of what may be happening in our lives, the Red Tent Temple will be up and the space will be maintained because it is just that important. You may not be able to make it this New Moon or even next one, but know, She will be there waiting to welcome you into Her Womb of Sisterhood and Divine love. If you care to bring a gift to the altar, bring your heart and bring your dreams...oh and chocolate is always good too.