Women’s Circles


I read a poem by Oria Mountain Dreamer in a yoga class one evening, and when a woman asked for a copy to read to her Women’s Group I thought, “I want to be in a women’s group!” I couldn’t believe it when some time later a new friend told me about her women’s group and invited me to join. Can you guess who wrote the poems that were read at my very first meeting? YES! Oriah Mountain Dreamer! I loved the synchronicity, and took it as a sign that I was in the right place.

These are my notes from that women’s circle – The Well Women in Hampton Virginia back in April of 2009. The leader for the day led us using two poems by Oriah Mountain Dreamer – the “Invitation” and “The Call,” to inspire us in reflection and creativity.

“Remember – there is one word you are here to say with your whole being.
When it finds you, give your life to it. Don’t be tight-lipped and stingy.
Spend yourself completely on the saying.
Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together.”
~ from “The Call”

During a period of meditation with music by Carlos Nakai, we opened ourselves to find “our word”…. that one word we feel we are here to embody for ourselves and offer to the world. I thought of breathe but thought no that’s my friend’s word. I thought of ‘just relax’ or ‘let go’ because I know I hold things too tightly, but those are two words. An image came to mind – a picture of me with my best friend, Jane, and a big rooster in front of a funky store in Big Fork, Montana with a neon sign behind us that said “Open.” To see it in neon lights, couldn’t be more obvious! The quote that I liked from Gwen Bonnie, “It takes courage to walk through life with an open heart” also came to mind. I thought of the strong reaction that comes up in me when my husband tells me to “keep an open mind,” and that was three. When I took accounting, every time I did the work I got a different answer, so I just wrote down the first number I got three times as the answer. Everyone says numbers don’t lie, but I find words to be much more friendly.

Each of us had a different word, and after we shared “our word” with the circle, the leader then asked us to write a Tanka poem about it. Tanka are 31- syllable poems that have been the most popular form of poetry in Japan for at least 1300 years. They concisely and musically evoke a moment or mark an occasion with 5 lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables. Here is my tanka poem:

open is my word
open heart, mind, and spirit
open to receive
the gifts of life and then to
pass them along to the next

My word is still speaking to me ten years later.
When I found this card I knew it came to show me I am on the right track as I am working to start this new women’s circle.

Women’s circles have been inspiring, supporting, and uplifting women for years. Judging from the many web sites, articles, and books on the subject they are on the rise. If you are already in a Women’s Circle, you are blessed. If you’d like to start a Women’s Circle I suggest you follow the guidance offered in Sacred Circles A Guide to Creating Your Own Women’s Spirituality Group by Robin Deen Carnes and Sally Craig.
Let me know how it goes!