Photography- Daisy Arnold
I am very delighted that The Red Tent Norfolk has been asked to be part of the First Edition of a Women's only paper in the Eastern Daily Press (EDP)
I feel very privileged to be supporting women to find meaningful connections and create a community of women so we can all draw strength from each other in a healthy way.
To read more click here
“Regular drumming connects, harmonises and synchronizes us to the greater symphony if life”.
The power of the drum relaxes the tense, energizes the tired, and heals the emotionally wounded.
Home educating husband and wife duo from Norfolk are promoting the many amazing benefits of drum, by holding drum circles, natural rhythm sessions, and drum making workshops throughout East Anglia. Last year they traveled as far as North Wales to promote drumming where they held workshops for Forest School Association’s National Conference.
“Drumming is a universal language free from words and concepts. It provides a platform for ones self expression in a place without fear of judgment thus breaking down social barriers. Drumming encourages empathy, resilience, emotional intelligence, deep listening, patience, acceptance, and self respect. It deepens connection to self, others and the world around you. It instills a sense of calm providing a platform to freely express oneself and promotes unity and harmony. It provides a safe place to be heard and listened to, a place to find your ‘unique’ voice and rhythm.”
In previous years they have personally witnessed the transformative effect of drum within their family life. They have used drum ‘medicine’ for all kinds of reasons including pain relief during labour, teething, weaning, earth blessings, unions, deep healing, meditation, stress, anxiety, shifting old behavior patterns and healing trauma. They feel that the drum has infinite potential for bringing positive change within our everyday lives.
Over the last year they have carried out research, to find evidence that supports the benefits of the frame drum and the many benefits of regular drumming in circle. Recent research found that drumming can be equally as effective as anti-depressant medication and psychotherapies. Research by the Royal College of Music has found that drumming has a positive impact on mental health, with a 10-week programme of group drumming reducing depression by as much as 38% and anxiety by 20%.
“Until now the frame drum has been largely forgotten although it was the first instrument ever made. It is like no other drum. It resonates throughout the entire body, promoting healing and well being to all who play it”.
Claire Cartwright is a Forest School and Reiki practitioner and uses drumming in her sessions. Benny Cartwright is a craftsman, musician, and music teacher. He shares mindfulness, presence and deep listening techniques through his music lessons.
Benny and Claire offer drum ‘birthing’ workshops to people wishing to make their own drum. “Our workshops are held in a place of deep stillness, meditation and ceremony. Making your own drum in this sacred way is a deep and transformative process that becomes part of a persons healing, medicine and journey. It becomes an integral part of your life, and an extension of self. The experience of creating such a unique and priceless drum will remain with you forever”.
On Saturday March 3rd Sacred Sisterhood of Norwich are hosting a women’s only drum birth workshop - spaces are still available contact- firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 31st Blue moon we are offering an ‘open’ drum birth workshop - spaces are available
They also make beautifully hand crafted drums to sell to those who are, for whatever reason, unable to birth for themselves. All of the materials used are locally and ethically sourced.
They have various exciting projects on the horizon which will enable them to offer people with mental health issues a chance to feel the benefits of drum. One of the projects is called ‘drum for life’ which will provide people with exactly that, as a ‘self regulatory’ tool. They are currently in the process of seeking funding for this
They are starting a new drum circle on Saturday 17th February at the Sackhhouse in Wells-next-the-sea from 10.30am until 12pm. All ages and abilities are welcome. No experience needed. This is not a prescriptive music lesson, the rhythm’s are intrinsically led. Booking is essential as spaces are limited.
The session costs £9 per person which includes drum hire. Concessions are given. Booking and enquiries via email email@example.com or text 07548 474450.
Their website is www.bearnumber9.co.uk which is currently under construction.
This wonderful meditation is lovingly gifted for the Sacred Sisterhood Community.
Connecting with your winter energy
Hypnosis is a fantastic mediation tool which you can use to connect with, listen to and learn from your body.
In this busy, modern world, it’s easy to live from the neck up, paying attention to you body only when something goes wrong. Many of us have lost the art of listening to our bodies, or, more accurately, interpreting their message. Rarely, for example, is a headache a sign that of a nurofen deficiency.
Take a moment to really enter your body. You can begin to do this by focussing on your breath. Bring your attention to the small dent above your lip and below your nostrils, just noticing any sensations there as your breath enters and leaves your body.
Be curious about the journey of your breath. See how far you can trace your breath as it saturates your body, just as water, poured into a vessel, will find every crevice.
Like the tide coming in…and out.
Feel relaxation washing over you with the tide of your breath.
Notice the relaxation on the very top of your head, spreading from your scalp to your forehead-your eyebrows-your eyelids-heavy and relaxed.
Feel the relaxation spreading NOW through the features on your face, your eyes, nose, your cheeks, mouth, the back of your head, your chin-calming, soothing oxygen, filling your body like an incoming tide fills the rockpools.
Allow your upper back to relax fully, dropping your shoulder blades like knives sliding through butter.
Relax your chest and upper back.
Relax your stomach and lower back.
Relaxation now eases into your hips and pelvis, your upper legs, your knees, flowing into your lower legs, your ankles and over your feet. Easing any remaining tension out through the tips of your toes.
Scan your body for any areas of lingering tension and breathe into them as though you were blowing up a balloon, notice how the tension eases the way the latex of the balloon smooths as it inflates.
And I want you to know, that, as you are most definitely alive, at least 85% of your body is working well for you and yet, we are far more likely to focus on any ailments or parts of our bodies that displease us.
It is important to know that our bodies are constantly striving for balance and health, though our lifestyle choices can limit the resources available.
Take a few moments to think about all the ways your body has served you recently:
You might experience this process as a series of images/ as feelings/ perhaps through symbols/ maybe words or just an awareness.
Maybe it allowed you to see a beautiful sight, perhaps you grew a human, recovered from an illness or regenerated through a good nights sleep.
As these thoughts cascade through your mind, you might notice emotions attached to them: appreciation, humour, joy, maybe frustration, anger…
Allow/ don’t judge
Maybe your body enabled you to hear a beautiful sound, feel a wonderful sensation, enjoy a delicious meal. Has it healed a wound, trembled with orgasm or kept working despite being exhausted?
NOW I want you to focus on one thing that your body has done that you can be truly grateful for. Bring up that image/ feeling/ symbol/ those words, that awareness. Amplify them. Turn up the colour/ volume/ brightness/ sound/ sensations associated with this gratitude. What do you feel, where? See? Hear? Smell? Taste?
Allow a message of gratitude to form in your mind. A phrase, an affirmation/ a mantra that you can repeat. Address your body in your mind. Flood it with this sense of gratitude.
We women are cyclical in our nature. Hormones ebb and flow in our bodies from puberty to menopause, causing powerful shifts in our energy, our focus, our needs and our skills.
Like a tree experiences the four seasons of the year, we experience four seasons every cycle. Often a health issue in a woman’s body can be eased by addressing a neglected season. And, after menopause, it is as though the training wheels come off allowing us to access all the seasons and trusting us to find the balance in our own lives.
Picture yourself now as a tree in winter. Your roots spread deep into the earth, grounding, securing, nourishing you. Your bare branches outstretched, but, like the tree, you have withdrawn into yourself, from the outside, there is little sign of life, your energy is drawn inward, you are passive, intuitive, creative. This is a time of renewal, of rest and regeneration. A time for you to retreat from the world in any way you can. You bear no fruit or foliage and, instead spread your roots deeper and wider. Letting go of responsibility (as far as possible), letting go of any negativity that has built up over the month. Forgiveness. A time for taking nourishment from the earth,
Take a moment to reflect on how you meet this need in your own life, at menstruation or at other times. Is there an allowance for your need to let go of anything that no longer serves you and to regenerate?
Kerry, from Wombservice is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner specialising in mind/body techniques for fertility, pregnancy, birth and menopause.
Red K Elders
Sometimes we may hold back from allowing Love’s most vast and overwhelming expression to flow through us, because we are afraid of it ending, afraid of being hurt. Our fear keeps love small, and manageable, and safe, even though we may long to be ravaged wide open by the Dionysian chaos of it. Yet every relationship we have, no matter how tenuous, or how cataclysmic or profound, will certainly end. Gentle lifelong friendships, mutually supportive temporary allegiances, or tidal surges of divine destiny, expressed through these bodies, will all end. Everything is always shifting, morphing and changing. Moving on, growing, dying, flowing in and out, moving towards, moving away. Everyone we ever love will one day shimmy out of of these bodies altogether and express their majesty through another curious ripple form. One day too, we’ll slip off these little binding skins and no longer be able to touch each other as we do, so miraculously and vividly, now.
No more whole bodied grappling with mountains, sharing delicate intimacies of innermost tendrilling. No more full bodied absorption of riotously beautiful sunsets, sliding knee deep in mud while temporarily suspended on the humming breath of a gliding great heron. No more ferocious arguments, savage kisses, face slaps, sweet meadow flowers, mad circus kittens, or giggling children silently imploring our connection with innocent hearts wide open.
Who knows how long any of us have, how long any relationship will last? The river remnant of a great sea still tongues a crevice through the slumbering valley. The solemn steady comfort of darkness, the drumming rain. Bird ancestors roosting in the walnut tree, outliving us all. The final most portentous cave, a human-sized hole rudely dug in the earth. Accepting this. Perhaps we may gently open to welcoming in and giving shelter to the lonely bittersweetness of the endings too? Folding them tenderly and equally right into the faery magic of new beginnings. Holding both in our hearts at once, and celebrating the wonder of it all. I love you - especially because - it will end. Synchronicities, proximities and serendipities are all so ephemeral. Such a fleeting life, this.
Love everyone, anyway, as much as possible. Expecting nothing in return. Let the rivulets and gullies widen as the full flood of Love gushes through, filling us completely and overflowing into many, many others. Love wholly, completely and fearlessly, with all our might, while we can, in the sweet short precious moments we are privileged to share with one another.
There are just so many perks to massaging your own boobies!
If you incorporate breast massage into your daily self love routine you will begin to experience such an abundance of wonderful benefits. Firstly when you feel connected to your breasts you feel sexy, feminine & full of vitality! As you massage you are releasing heart opening endorphins, creating space and flow within your chest, clearing your lymphatic system, removing toxins and bringing a fresh supply of blood and oxygen to the breast tissues.
Breast massage stimulates your endocrine glands and helps to balance hormones. And when done regularly is an effective preventive to PMS symptoms. Breast massage keeps the energy & lymphatic fluids flowing through, which keep the breasts feeling alive and healthy whilst simultaneously firming up the tissues making them feel nice and perky!
Self breast massage can be such a beautiful gift to yourself, nurturing, calming, arousing , energising and a deeply heart-opening loving experience.
Breasts just love to get loved up!
Come on sister, if you aren't doing it already, spend some time today loving your breasts, they will thank you for it!
When~ Breast massage is a great way start to the day. Maybe before you get up. Have a bottle of oil near the bed. It's a warming & delicious way to wake up.
Evenings are lush too. A breast massage is a gentle way to unwind and help release tensions of the day.
Oil ~ You can massage your breasts with a favourite organic natural oil. Warmed coconut, sweet almond or pomegranate oils are excellent. If you like add a couple of drops of Rose essential oil which works to harmonise the energies in the whole chest area. Lavender is wonderful when protection is needed. And geranium works to balance the endocrine system. A few drops of Yarrow or Chamomile essential oil makes a useful addition if there is inflammation and Rosemary can be added if there is a need to increase circulation.
How~ Begin by taking some deep softening breaths down into your belly. Bringing your focus to your heart. Holding the intention of welcoming self love and care into your body.
Warm your hands by rubbing them vigorously together. Take some oil.
Place your hands together in prayer position. Bring them up between your breasts, and begin to gently rub outwards with a circular motion around the breasts and back up between. Your right hand will be moving counter-clockwise, while your left hand moves clockwise. Each rub should last a couple of seconds. Continue for as long as you like.Then change direction bringing the circles down between the breasts and up around the outside. This should be a light smooth & gentle touch. Skimming the skin.
Now with one hand make a figure of eight around each breast.
Try massaging your nipples . This will activate the endocrine system and will stimulate the uterus helping in production of juicy lubrication within your yoni.
Take time to play with your nipples, try lightly squeezing them and gently pulling or twisting.
These are just a few techniques to try. Experiment, find what feel's right for you.
Explore the sensations, the arousal, all the different feelings that arise, maybe they are warm pleasurable feelings, maybe there is some shame or sadness which floats to the surface. Notice them allow them. Keep present. How does the beast tissue feel. Can you notice any differences or changes?
Alternate pressure of touch touch. How does it feel? What memories are reawakened? Most importantly – enjoy, have fun & just do what feels good! The whole massage should take between 2-15minutes.
End by gently stroking the breasts and let the hands come to rest over your heart space. Take a few soft breaths and spend a moment connecting in with any feelings that have arisen. Sending gratitude to yourself for taking the time for this precious moment of loving self nurture.
If you incorporate daily breast massage into your self care practice you’ll notice how your breasts begin to respond to touch differently, becoming awakened and more sensitive, hormonal pain or swelling should lessen or may even dissappear and they may even grow and become firmer. If you are breastfeeding this daily practice will help keep a good supply flowing.
If you have had breast surgery, removal, or reconstruction this massage ritual is incredibly valuable for keepig the vital flow of energy and lymph going around the whole area. And can help with rebuilding or syrengthening your relationship with your breasts.
Some other ways to get the lymphatics flowing well in the breast area are to gently do some dry skin brushing with a soft bristle brush before a shower for a few minutes. Always brushing towards the heart.
Also giving the breasts a splash with cold water after a hot bath or shower stimulates the circulation.
You may like to go a stage further and make your own Sacred Vernal Equinox Beast Massage Oil~
Begin by meditating on what aspect of self love you wish to seed withing yourself over the coming weeks & months. Write this down.
With this intention in mind go and gather 2 handful of sweet violet flowers - for mother earth heart connection & or hawthorn flowers - for heart wellbeing.
If you cannot get these you could use lavender - for grounding and protection. (Fresh or dried is ok)
Place them in a jar and cover with your favorite natural oil, almond or fractionated coconut oil work well. Put the lid on and leave on a sunny windowsill for two weeks shaking occasionally. You can tape your self love intention to the outside of the jar or place it near by as a reminder of what you are calling into your life.
After 2 weeks or so strain off the oil into a new jar making sure to leave any water at the bottom of the 1st jar.
Now combine with equal amounts of the same oil used ( eg 30ml Violet infused almond oil with an aditional 30ml almond oil). If you choose you can now add a few drops of rose, lavender, chamomile or geranium essential oil. And a tsp of wheatgerm oil to preserve, but this isn't essential.
You now have your very own Sacred Vernal Equinox Breast Massage Oil!
Full of beautiful intentions and herbal infused oils. Which will bring their own unique therapeutic qualities just for you as you lovingly explore your breast massage practice.
If you would like to learn more about sacred self care rituals & the women's circles I hold or if you would like to work with me to create a specific ceremony or ritual for yourself please get in touch.
With love and blessings for all that is awakening within you at this time xx Ashlee
Article by: Ashlee
Facebook: Wild garden Botanicals @ Ashlee By The Sea
I've been attending Red Tent for a little over a year now so it feels like the right time to reflect on what is "Red Tent". This time last year I was struggling with the thought of returning to work after a year on maternity leave. I'd left my job full of excitement about my impending arrival and full of ideas about what I thought motherhood would be like. I was putting on hold that career driven, hardworking, fiercely ambitious side of me that had risen up and up in her job, through nothing but my own dedication. I was ruthless in achieving my goals and was absolutely determined to prove that I, a young woman, could rise high in any career I set my mind to. Anyway, a few weeks after packing away my desk, my daughter arrived! But so did a completely new version of me, the mother. That determination that had been previously thrust into my career was immediately directed at ensuring that this wonderful, yet tiny, human being had the very best I could possibly give her. My views and opinions changed about so many things. Sleep, previously a favourite pastime, was now a willing sacrifice to provide my daughter with food and comfort through the night. My independence was no longer necessary in a world where I needed to fight for hers. I felt empathy with every parent in the world and cried for every baby who I felt was suffering. This new person no longer cared one bit about whether a masters degree would be good enough to get to where she wanted to go. Or whether that high up person felt she was performing to her best. All of that could fuck off as far I was now concerned. But this left me stuck. In a kind of limbo as I was leading up to my return to work. How was this new me going to fit into this life that old me had created? How was I going to fit this softer, calmer and gentler version of me into a fast paced life? In the midst of this mental turmoil, I read an article about how women were gathering across the world in "Red Tents". It explained that the idea had sprung from Anita Diamant's book "The Red Tent" and women were coming together to support each other and embrace their femininity. Anyway a quick Facebook search later and I have joined the Red Tent Norfolk group and had the date of the next gathering in my calendar. I was nervous on the night of my first Red Tent. With no idea what to expect, I had asked on a Facebook group if other people had been and what it was like. I got thirty plus different answers. Not particularly helpful in calming my nerves. Anyway I showed up with a packet of chocolate biscuits and my favourite socks and was welcomed like a friend into a room full of strangers. That evening we sang, played instruments, listened to storytelling, drank tea and feasted. However the most memorable part for me was during counsel sharing. We were asked as a collective to say what we needed from the space. I knew exactly what I needed. "I need a space to be me. To sit without guilt or pressure. I need to not be needed. And I need to cry." And I did. No one asked me to be anyone. No one stopped me crying. No asked me to make dinner or put the kettle on. No one hugged me. But I was thanked. I was thanked for sharing with the group and for being honest with myself. I was buzzing as I drove home that night. I vowed to go back the next month and I did. I cried again that time too, and the time after that. But as I did I felt that I was being truer to myself. I wasn't trying to be the career-driven woman nor was I trying to be the perfect mother. I didn't have to be a good wife, a good friend or anything at all. I just showed up, did what I wanted, took what I needed, offered what I was able and left. As the year has gone on I have attended as many Red Tent evenings as possible. Each evening I have met new people, watched the seasons change, celebrated, reflected and been heard, but my experience is just that, it is mine! What I take from each session is personal and unique therefore describing it to someone would not do it justice. It needs to be experienced to be understood. However I can say with absolute certainty that my Red Tent is a space for me to acknowledge a whole me, where I lay myself bare and vulnerable, and in turn feel empowered.
Article by Charlotte Jessop
For more articles by Charolotte follow her @The Free From Mummy
Kayla is a doula who supports all women to birth their visions,feel empowered to learn to love themselves for who they are now.