Girls Lodge

The Daughters of the Earth Lodge

This page is filled with wisdom gathered from running our girls lodges over the past 4 years. From the original group, held by 5 women, we now have 3 groups and a 4th starting soon, held by the local mothers. Included below are our learnings, some teachings and a few blog posts.

…..and the women of the Red tent gathered….but this time they brought their daughters….

Dear Sister,
Does your heart sing when you sit in a circle of women? Do you feel you are part of the earth, part of the whole? Do you believe all beings need to be treated with respect? Do you want to walk down a path of sustainability and connection, to create a new earth based culture?
Yes? Then you and your daughters are invited to create with us a Women and Girls Lodge in your village.
You too can begin a journey to awaken the path to womanhood for our girls, through nature activities, wisdom sharing, play, craft and earth connection; we will recreate our culture and rewrite “herstory”.

Follow our Journey  and perhaps join us at one of our workshops.

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We are a core group of 5 women- Rachael, Emma, Robyn, Jenny and Do. We have been meeting together for over a year; we have put the earth in the centre, opened our hearts, held council and spoken our truth and found our way to holding and creating our Women and Girls Lodge.

On this site we will share our learnings.  We bring our bundle of wisdom to share; forest school, play, camaraderie amongst ourselves and the girls, nature connection, play therapy, beautiful crafts, sacred girls lodges, story telling, moon time wisdom, songs and chants, beautiful ceremonies, wise women’s ways…

We have been Inspired by Gail Burkett’s work and particularly her Gifts from The Elders book, we recommend looking at www.ninepassages.com to get a taste of Gails work.

THE INTENTION OF OUR LODGE

For us it’s about making sure that the next generation is fully and harmoniously integrated into themselves, their bodies, their families, their communities and into nature. So they grow up to be happy, strong, and fully functional for themselves, their tribe and families.

The purpose of this is so life works in a good and becoming way and that this carries on into the future and down the generations.

In traditional tribes they would spend a huge amount of time and energy into holding their young people and initiating them because the cost of not doing that is greater.

So not only are we teaching and guiding them, we are giving them the new pattern and that is what culture is.

We are creating new cultural patterns.

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We had a vision, a collective vision, part of which each of us had held for many years, in our own way, in our own life. We came together and that vision began to unfold. Our vision was a sacred lodge, a tribal lodge, to create something similar to the native lodges, where women, mothers, grandmothers passed on the women’s wisdom and traditions to their daughters. Where girls would be honoured and celebrated.

We realised that this did not exist in this culture, so we understood that to manifest this dream we would have to do it ourselves. So we began the work, dreaming, visioning, circling, healing, creating and re – learning to enable us to hold such a space.

We did’nt have a map,as we did not know of any other lodge or circle in this country, so we looked to the indigenous cultures of other lands for guidance, we listened to the deep knowing held in our bones, we made offerings of gratitude to the land , and received guidance from the Earth mother. We weaved our collective wisdom and skills.

We created something unique in this culture(whilst there are other girls groups and mother and girl red tent days, none of them are offering the unique mix of nature connection, women’s wisdom, mentoring, peer support…etc), we created something truly beautiful that the girl’s ( and mothers) love! And we would love to see more lodges being birthed, and we want to share our learnings and skills with you. 

What became apparent was that women are busy, very busy and it’s difficult to find the time to hold our selves…let alone our girls. Our original vision had been a lodge where all the mothers, grandmothers, women held the girls, but we realised that in this busy culture, this is not possible (hopefully as this society moves into a culture of sharing and connection this will change) So as a core group that could clearly see how important and how needed our lodge was, we offered to hold the lodge, to be the ‘elders’ and we asked the mothers to commit to attending once a month for a day with their daughters. We ask no more that they come and bring a few bits- lunch, warm clothes, a journal and on occasion some natural objects and donations. As the core group, we would plan and hold the group.

We offer mentoring for both the women and the girls.

In the morning the women sit in circle with Rachael and Do.

The girls have their own lodge outside on the land, and they are held by Emma, Jenny and Robyn.

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Mentoring the women- Sitting in circle

Do and Rachael are able to hold the womens space from their years of experience of being part of, and holding womens circles, groups, moon lodges and red tents over the years. We share our womens wisdom, offer ceremonies, and an opportunity for therapeutic sharing and self enquiry.

Some of the mothers have chosen to go deeper by joining Rachael and Eartha’s Deepening Woman Journey.

Women holding theses spaces need to be in their truth and power, they need to have spent time sitting in circle, they need to have been honoured and celebrated by their tribe, for if they have not, how can they be with girls? How can you pass on what you don’t have?

So the women are mentored and held by one another in circle, slowly and gently going though the past, sharing the joys and wounds of our childhoods, wrapping our bundles, meditating on Grandmother Moon, Mother Earth, our inner heart and womb spaces,  creating “catch up” ceremonies, taking time on the land to connect with the earth and ourselves, witnessing one another and gradually stepping into our power.

There are lots of opportunities both within the circle sharing and over breaks and lunch to discuss the issues we all face as mothers- social media, food issues, body image, make up, bra’s, menstrual products….and how we open up these topics with our girls. Some things are discussed within the afternoon sharing session with the mothers and daughters, some are kept as part of the womens circle.

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Mentoring the girls – connecting to the land, to each other and themselves.

Many of the problems facing young girls today is their disconnection from themselves, which is in fact a disconnection from life and nature… Nature Deficit Disorder.

Once, through reconnecting they gain a sense of their higher purpose and regain their sense of belonging, and therefore trust in life, they feel whole, they can hear their inner voice and intuition clearly, they are grounded in the reality of being alive on this sweet earth and they sense they have a purpose and they can allow their flow to guide them on their journey.

Through connecting to Earth, spirit, love and their natural cycles they can discover who they really are.

If they can come through these powerful years with their sense of their natural self and connection intact, they are more likely to find their right path in life amongst all the challenges of living in this modern age.

So this is the aim of the mentors that hold the girls outside.  Using our years of experience:

Eartha’s experience coming from running her ‘Becoming Native’ project, including children’s lodges and storytelling. “This is why I feel stories are vital, as they begin to push away from us as parents, we can still reach them with stories, comfort and love.”  Eartha – talesfromtheeartheart.com

Robyn as a forest school leader, leather craft worker and with her skills at bush craft.

Jenny with her knowledge and talent for ancient crafts, love of the land and games.

We guide the mornings, so that the girls have time to simply be on the land through nature connection and awareness, hold ceremonies and teachings that weave women’s wisdom and teachings with Earth awareness. Give them time to share with and listen deeply to each other and to speak their truth. Weave in the spirit of adventure, indigenous teachings and storytelling, wellness, a sense of there emerging natural selves and sense of purpose.
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Issues that have come up for us to face…

The biggest issue was money! We have expenses- rent, materials and those of us holding the space wanted to be paid something for our skills and our time!

We quickly learned that the best way to tackle issues was to discuss them as a group- so we circled with the mothers and came up with a price that everyone felt comfortable paying.  We were also lucky enough to get start up funding from the National Lottery and the Earth Pathways Diary Seed Fund.

Resistance– yes, theres is always resistance to re-patterning, new ways of being, opening up and being vulnerable. But with a good facilitator and solid ways of working, these can be pushed through. (we use the method of circling as taught in The Way of The Council)

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Technology– As adults we have ‘grown up’ with todays technology, we are the first generation to witness computers and tablets in every home and mobile phones in every pocket. We have had to learn for ourselves our personal boundaries around these gadgets, which we can see clearly are highly addictive. Whilst we honour and recognise the power and usefulness of modern technology, we also hold a boundary of sacredness around our lodge and the land- which includes no technology on lodge days, with the exception of phones/cameras for photos!

How did we begin to gather and circle around our daughters?……with a vision.

And the women of the red tent under the blue stones gathered

But this time they brought their daughters………

They heard the sound of the great drum calling, the rhythm of the Earthmother, pulsing, rising up into their bellies and into their hearts.

They wrapped themselves in their blankets and they came from all corners of their land, bringing their wisdom for the girl-women.

Wrapped in their blankets of beauty, they carried their truth, their connection to the land and each other.

They carried the knowledge of womanhood. The women’s beauty way. They put the Earthmother at the centre of their circle,held council, they spoke truth. They spoke the language of the trees and the plants and the animals. They talked of the messages in the stars and the wisdom held in the stone people. They spoke of the truth in their hearts, and the truth of their wild natures. And the girl -women listened……..

extract from ‘stories for the daughters of the earth’

http://www.talesfromtheeartheart.com

We had a vision, we felt a sense of urgency to be with our daughters, we gathered and we started wrapping our collective wisdom into a beautiful bundle we could share with the girls…

but before we could be full present with this journey with our girls…..

before we could put out the invitation

there was work to do first,

we sat in circle and began the journey to recover our authentic natural selves.

yurt3Starting Your Lodge by Rachael Crow

Our core group came together as concerned women, 3 mothers, a mother to be and a grandmother.

We were concerned, concerned about todays pressures girls face.

How could we be an antidote to the media pressures, false beauty images, internet bullying, food issues, teen sex….

We know that girls imitate, especially from age 8 onwards, when the hormones begin to stir, they start to watch women, watch the older girls in their families and their peer groups.

To be able to pass on Womens Wisdom, women need to do some inner work first, you cannot pass on what you don’t have!

giftsfromtheeldersWe were inspired by Gail Burkett’s book “Gifts From the Elders- Girls Path to Womanhood” she advocates women and girls groups – to include girls from 8-18, but stresses the need for the mothers and women to do the personal healing and community building first, she encourages women to create ceremonies that resonate with their own beliefs- whatever they are and celebrate themselves though “Catch Up” work, reviewing the major steps in your life, and sharing and honouring them with women.

So we put out the invitation….

“Dear Sister,

Does your heart sing when you sit in a circle of women? Do you feel you are part of the earth, part of the whole? Do you believe all beings need to be treated with respect? Do you want to walk down a path of sustainability and connection, to create a new earth based culture?

Together we will begin a journey to awaken the path to womanhood for our girls, through nature activities, wisdom sharing, play, craft and earth connection; we will recreate our culture and rewrite “herstory”.

You are invited to join our Women and Girls Lodge

The first Lodge is just for the women, to welcome and celebrate you and share our dreams for the first UK women and girls group!

Come and join us, be you grandmother, mother

or guardian angel of girls from 8 upwards – to learn more of our intention. bring food to share and a donation.

We hope you can make it!”

The Women are Welcomed

We put out our invitation and mothers came to the first lodge session; where we sat in  circle, talked about the need for the lodge, the need for our daughters to be with women, we connected to the earth through a beautiful Journey. The women were wrapped  in blankets, we painted their hands and feet with red ochre and sang to them to welcome them to the circle and the lodge.

What Our Core Group Did

We sat in circle and put the earth at the centre (not our egos!) and together we dreamed and wove our dreams into the Women and Girls Lodge.

We continued to gather for months, putting the earth at the centre and sharing our TRUTHS. We co-created catch up ceremonies for each other, celebrating our mid girl and menarche selves, we shared stories of our youth, our brokenness and our courage, then we began to plan sessions and wrote invitations to the mothers!

We gathered and the expectation and excitement was rising in anticipation of sharing our wisdom.

We shared our vision with the women, the mothers, we wrapped them in blankets, sang and painted them in red ochre.

Again we gathered and planned the first session for the girls, we wrote invitations to them and their mothers and we waited…..

And the Girls arrived with excitement and fear, with giggles and nerves they sat in circle, explored the land, made rainbow bracelets- while the women in the Red Tent drummed and sang, painted their bodies with red ochre and prepared a ceremony.

Food was eaten in the sunshine, the girls played while the women talked.

Before the girls entered the lodge they put all their giggles and fidgets into the stones piled at the door, one by one they entered the lodge, they were saged and cleansed and sat in silence while the women beat their drums and sang songs.

We began the sacred Despacho Ceremony, giving prayers, gratitude and offerings to Pachamama, we sang songs and offered flowers, food, incenses, shells, feathers and chocolate to the Great Mother which where wrapped and placed on the fire.

We walked like foxes and played and laughed in the sunshine until it was home time!

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Our Lodge Format

We have a loose format that we mostly stick to each month!

10.30am arrive & welcome

10.45am Girls activity begins

Women gather in the Red Tent- smudge, meditation, circle sharing then a deeper sharing/activity

12.30-1.30 lunch break

1.30 Women welcome the girls into the Red Tent, smudge, sing, meditation, activity

3pm closing sharing circle

3.30 end

Arrive & Welcome

Girls are welcomed with their mothers at the outdoor kitchen/roundhouse. We usually have flapjack or pancakes ready for the girls, hot teas for the women.

To start we often have an introductions round, a story or a sharing circle where we all answer a simple question, such as what animal do you feel like today? Example replies are “I’m Jemma and today I feel like a sleepy doormouse” or “I’m Laura and today I’m a bit grumpy so I feel like a prickly hedgehog”, “I’m Amber and I’m full of energy so I feel like a jumpy frog”. Or we might ask the question “what do you most love about Autumn (or whatever season we are in)?”

If the group is feeling a bit disparate, or has become a bit cliquey we begin with a cooperative game to get everyone working together such as the Cinnamon Roll, or a bean bag game like Pattern Ball.

Girls Activities

Our morning activity with the girls is usually an outdoor one, where we hold the lodge there is an open sided roundhouse which offers cover from the rain- but not much warmth! One of our group also has a tipi that we have used on occasion and sometimes the girls and mothers swap and the mums stay outside for the morning!

As the core group we really want to listen to the girls and what they want from the group. Our girls have requested games, crafts, cooking, to spend time in sacred places, making altars, journalling, henna painting to name a few activities.

Our girls have each chosen a “spirit spot” – somewhere they can be alone, make offerings and connect to the earth, they have all created little altars at their spots and they love to show their mothers their special spots.

Our journey over time has been to build the girls up with challenges mixed in with really fun games and activities. It has felt like we are on a deepening journey together, deepening their relationships to their bodies, to each other, to the earth, to us.

So each lodge day has been building on the last, weaving together womens wisdom and earth connection.

women & girls weaving 2Jenny and the girls in the roundhouse with their beautiful  weaving.

Activities we have shared with the girls have been; beating the bounds, songs and chants, leather pouch making, fire making/lighting and cooking pancakes, popcorn, chai, soup, jam making, dough sticks, nature games, medicine bundles, circle sharing, glass painting (candle holders), candle making, using a compass, creating earth altars, exploring the medicine wheel, moon and menstrual connection games and moon time necklaces.

Women gather in the lodge- smudge, meditation, circle sharing then a deeper sharing/activity

We are lucky enough to have a beautiful Red Tent yurt where the women gather in the morning. We hold this space as a sacred one, consciously putting aside all our worries and negativity before entering. We do this by having 2 bowls by the door, an empty one and one filled with stones. Women choose a stone and take a moment to put all thoughts that are bothering them or stopping them from being fully present into the stone, which is then placed into the empty bowl. At the end of the day there is a choice as to whether you might want to pick up the stone again and take back whatever you put into it! Any stones left are cleansed by the rain/moon before being returned to the original bowl.

The women enter in silence (sometimes it’s difficult to keep the silence so one women might start singing to prevent chit chat happening.) they find a spot to sit in circle and then we begin to smudge each other with sage or mugwort while drumming and singing.

We then move into a meditation or journey to hold the sacred space. Emma wrote a beautiful earth connection meditation that we often use, and Rachael has some womb/earth meditations and journeys that she uses when appropriate.

Afterwards we each take turns lighting a tea light for the altar and stating we are present (“I am Rachael and I am present”) and passing the story bowl* around the circle. One of the core group will start -giving the topic for the sharing. Topics have included remembering our mid girl selves and bringing photos of ourselves, our menarche stories, where we are in our cycles (monthly and life cycle!), co creating a special altar and speaking about the altar items we have brought, talking about our relationship with our daughters/our mothers.

This sharing space is also where the core group might bring up practical issues for the women to share council on- such as finances, how we hold the girls on their journey, whether to have an open or closed group etc.

When the group first started the core group welcomed each mother by wrapping them in a blanket, singing to them and painting them in red ochre as a way to make them feel a valued member of the lodge. As we became a closed group and there were no more women to welcome in this way, it allowed more time to dedicate to circle sharing.

After one round of sharing we might go around again, sharing more deeply on the subject, or we might have an activity such as a craft, do some yoga, look at the menstrual medicine wheel etc

The mothers really value this time together, giving them time to share some of the issues they might be facing with their daughters, whilst building up the friendship and trust between us all.

2015-10-18 14.29.04*We choose to have a “story bowl” rather than a talking stick as it feels much more feminine, and we hold the idea that all our stories are held in the bowl and all women passing the bowl can access the wisdom of our stories. The bowl also contains some beautiful essences made by Clarity Vibration (UK), a small doll, a rose quartz and heart stone. Sometimes women will spray them selves and hold something from the bowl as they speak.

Lunch Break

We always eat together outside, taking about an hour for our lunch break. We all bring food to share and will have extra special feasts if we happen to hold a lodge on a special day like Imbolc or Earth Day. Everyone helps to wash up and clear away dishes.

Women welcome the girls into the Red Tent, smudge, sing, meditation, activity

We really wanted to keep the specialness and sacredness of the Red Tent as a magical experience for the girls, so before they enter they put their giggles and fidgets into the stones outside, and they are smudged and sung to before entering the yurt, inside the women are singing to welcome them.

They enter one by one, sit quietly in the circle with the women (often not sitting by their mothers!) and wait until all the girls have come in.

2015-11-15 13.34.12Then there will be a simple meditation or journey or sometimes a story that connects to the shared activity for the afternoon, an activity that brings the mothers and daughters together, activities have included a despacho ceremony, co-creating a 9 passages altar, painting each others faces (mothers painting daughters, daughters painting mothers) with natural ochre paints, girls and mothers sharing things they love about each other, water and fire ceremonies, knitting and crocheting, medicine bundles, we have also gone outside on sunnier days and done foraging and herb tea making, tree planting, and the girls love to take their mums to their sacred spots on the land.

We try to allow time for the girls and mums to do some journalling, to keep a record of their journey and to allow a space for some creative flow!

How the first few lodges went…

The core group gathered once again to weave the next lodge session. We would celebrate the season with a soup from our harvests and weave a beautiful loom of offerings for the animals and birds of this land, weaving ribbons, wool and fabrics together with popcorn on string, berries, nuts and other foods. We will gather berries and make jam on the fire, play games and feat together, any new women will be welcomed, sang to and painted in the Red Tent.

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And so again the girls and mothers gathered, they were welcomed with a story Emma has written, the “story so far…” of our lodge, they listened , enraptured. Then we all snaked across the land with our chants, drums and rattles, to beat the bounds so the spirits of the land know our place and the girls knew the boundaries of their playground.

Then the chopping of vegetables began, sharing stories, laughter and love as we chopped and washed, washed and chopped. The girls ran off to collect blackberries and the women crept away to the red tent where they meditated on Mother Earth and had a ‘pow wow’ about the day, the journey they were setting out on together, their hopes and fears for their relationships with their daughters.

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Rachael and Hannah sang to them, wrapped them in blankets and painted their hands and feet with Red Ochre, massaged them and welcomed them with love.

Together the women left the warmth of the Red Tent to prepare the feast of soup, breads, cheeses and salads….

Meanwhile the daughters had played games and collected things for the weaving session in the afternoon.

After lunch Rachael lit the fire in the Red Tent yurt, burned incense, lit candles and the mothers enetered and sang as the girls came in one by one, leaving their giggles and fidgets in the stones at the door and where smudged at the threshold.

We had a drum journey into our very centres and saw the web of life within ourselves, we journeyed with animals and fish across waters and lands to a sacred stone circle.

When we came back from the journey we all put our gratitudes, prayers and wishes into fabrics, ferns, wools, ribbons, branches (with berries and nuts attached!) and plants which were woven into a beautiful loom that Jenny had made in the centre of the yurt, while everyone sang songs of weaving, of autumn, of the earth and of love.

girls lodge weavingGradually the loom was filled and the girls filtered outside to make jam with Jenny while the women held a council about how the group will run, our maximum number the space and group feel comfortable to hold, how to book and reserve your space and the timings of the day.

We finally gathered all together in the roundhouse while 2 women ceremonially carried the loom up from the yurt for us to sit around, we had a sharing circle, held hands and finished by chanting 3 Ma’s (the sound of the heart-womb meridian).

The core group had a lot of clearing up that day, so we decided we would ask the mothers to help with washing up and to be responsible for their possessions and keeping areas tidy after activities!

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As the leaves turned golden the tipi was put up in expectation of a colder day, but the morning was warm and bright as the 5 women of the Lodge gathered to pepapre for the day. We chanted 3 Ma’s and called in our guides and spirits and held the earth in the centre. We lit fires and prepared the yurt….just in time as the first mothers and daughters arrived. We sang happy birthday to 3 of the women and circled on the things we had enjoyed from the last couple of lodge gatherings.

tipiThe women left to gather in the Red Tent where we saged each other, sang, lit candles, meditated on our Mother Earth and welcomed the new women. Then together we created a ‘life spiral’ altar (inspired by the 9 passages by Gail Burkett), sharing our journeys and where we are -what threshold we stand at…for most of us we are between mothering and the mid woman place, we placed special items and bundles to represent ourselves on the altar, and sang Carolyn Hillyers “Girlseed” song.

life spiral

Life Spiral image shared with permission from Gail Burkett, design by Jean Herzel

After a delicious lunch of soup, baked potatoes, salads, breads, we came back to the Red Tent and welcomed the girls in, surrounding them we shared the life spiral,placing offerings of raspberry leaf and the girls placed bundles they had made in the morning. Emma led a life spiral drum journey and afterwards we gave the girls printed copies of the spiral which they coloured and stuck in their journals.

They sang to the women a song they had learned that morning…’who are the witches…’ and they told us about the games they had played and we discussed what we could call our group.

Who are the Witches?

Who were the witches? 
Where did they come from?


Maybe your great, great grandmother was one.
Witches were wise, wise women they say.
And there’s a little witch in every woman today!

Witches knew all about flowers and weeds.
How to use all their roots and their leaves and
 their seeds.
When people grew weary from hard-workin’ days,
They made ’em feel better in so many ways.
 (chorus)

When women had babies the witches were there
To hold them and help them and give them care.
Witches knew stories of how life began.
Don’t you wish you could be one? Well, maybe
 you can!
(chorus)

Some people thought that the witches were bad.
Some people were scared of the power they had.
 But power to help and to heal and to care 
Isn’t something to fear, it’s a pleasure to share.
(chorus)

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The women and the girls of the lodge gather again with stones and offerings for our spirit spots on the land. We began all together in the roundhouse and welcomed a new mother and daughter into our circle, sharing with them some of our favourite things from the last sessions. Together we meditated on Mother Earth and shared our truths and connection to the Earth and processed to our “Truth Cain” (a place where over time women have gathered and laid stones while speaking our truths) and placed our stones down in revered silence.

12715205_10153990832805820_9188279743623085899_nThe girls went up to the round house for hot drinks and then to visit their spirit spots on the land while the women gathered in the yurt to sing to the new mother in welcome. A wile later the daughters came into the red tent, being smudged and sang to and then the mothers shared in our circle things about their daughters that they are so proud of…things none of us knew….and then the girls shared about their mothers and then mothers and daughters painted each others faces with natural ochres and together we sang the ‘beautiful’ song.

2015-11-15 13.33.33How could anyone ever tell you

You were anything less than beautiful


How could anyone ever tell you


You were less than whole


How could anyone fail to notice


That your loving is a miracle

How deeply you’re connected to my Soul…

Then it was time for a shared lunch and excitedly the girls took their mothers to visit their spirit spots and we finished the day all coming together in the yurt to journal about the day.

Lodge Resources

Books & Stories & Websites

Tales from the Earth Heart by Eartha Love – Online resources for setting up girls lodges

Moon Times Shop and Blog with lots of eco menstrual products and info for women and girls

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Gifts from the Elders by Gail Burkett

Nine Passages by Gail Burkett

Thirteen Moons compiled by Rachael Hertogs

Menarche a Journey into Womanhood by Rachael Hertogs

Seven Sacred Rites of Menarche by Kristi Meisenbach Boylan

Wild Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer

Red School- online menstrual courses from Alexandra Pope

Menstrual Medicine Circle with Amber Bates

Red Moon by Miranda Gray

Moon Time by Lucy H Pearce

Reaching for the Moon by Lucy H Pearce

The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr Christaine Northrup

Keepers of the Earth by Michael J Caduto

Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura D Shaw

Circle Round by Starhawk, Diane Baker and Anne Hill

Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young

Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N Aron

Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N Aron

Videos for Mothers

Autumn Woman (menopause) videos by Jane Hardwick Collings

Dr Christiane Northrup-the Wisdom of Menopause

Healing The Mother Wound Part 1 with Bethany Webster and Melanie Swan Healing The Mother Wound Part 2; The Parentified Daughter with Bethany Webster & Melanie Swan TRE -Trauma Releasing Exercises

Please note caution: As someone who practises TRE regularly, i would not advise attempting to do these exercises without having the training or instruction from a qualified practitioner. My instructor advises not to teach yourself by watching you tube. Also she teaches practising TRE twice a week at the most, to allow your body time to process and recover. Written By Emma –  I was taught the exercises in a one day workshop in Bristol by Caroline Purvey ·

www.treuk.com

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Altar and Lodge decorations

Earth Flag/cloth

Altar figurines (UK) (USA)

Transitions cards 

Herbs and incense

Womanrunes

Daughters in Flower Oracle cards

Songs

How could anyone ever tell you

How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my Soul…

Circle of Women

Circle of Women by Nalini Blossom

May all mothers know that they are loved
And may all sisters know that they are strong
And may all daughters know that they are worthy
That the Circle of Women may live on
That the Circle of Women may live on

May all mothers know that they are loved
And may all sisters know that they are strong
And may all daughters know that they are worthy
That the Fire of of the Goddess may burn on
That the Fire of of the Goddess may burn on
Wehaheya Wehaheya Wehahe Wehaheya
Wehaheya Wehaheya Wehahe Wehaheya

May all mothers know that they are loved
And may all sisters know that they are strong
And may all daughters know that they are beautiful
That the Circle of Women may live on
That the Circle of Women may live on

May all mothers know that they are loved
And may all sisters know that they are strong
And may all daughters know that they are beautiful
That the Fire of of the Goddess may burn on
That the Fire of of the Goddess may burn on
Wehaheya Wehaheya Wehahe Wehaheya
Wehaheya Wehaheya Wehahe Wehaheya

May all mothers know that they are loved
And may all sisters know that they are strong
And may all daughters know that they are powerful
That the Circle of Women may live on
That the Circle of Women may live on

May all mothers know that they are loved
And may all sisters know that they are strong
And may all daughters know that they are powerful
That the Fire of of the Goddess may burn on
That the Fire of of the Goddess may burn on
Wehaheya Wehaheya Wehahe Wehaheya
Wehaheya Wehaheya Wehahe Wehaheya

Voice of the Grandmothers

I hear the voices of my grandmothers calling
I hear the voices of my grandmothers calling

She says Listen Listen
MMM-mm
wake up wake up
mmm-mm
Listen Listen

May the rivers all run clear
May the mountains stand unbroken
May the air be pure
May the trees grow tall
May this earth be shared by us all

I hear the voices of my grandfathers calling
I hear the voices of my grandfathers calling
He says Listen Listen
mmm- mm
Rise Up, Rise Up
Listen Listen
May the children all run free
May the circle be unbroken
May the walls fall down
And the fire burn
From this family we all shall learn

Who were the witches, where did they come from?

Deep into the Earth

And our favourite cake recipe…we always end our celebrations and ceremonies with cake!

Heartache Chocolate Cake

My Menarche
written by Freya age 14… (as published in She Who Knows Magazine)

In the summer of 2016 my mother and I went down from our town to Wales for a mother and daughter camp. I am a teenager who, like most others, doesn’t have a hugely close relationship with my mum and went for the three day camp to bond. At the time I didn’t release how much of an emotional journey it would be.

There were lots of other beautiful girls and there mums. It was amazing to see women together for a little while, enjoying their kids and loving everyone all the same. When we arrived I felt a little uncomfortable because I am so used to male company as most of my friends are boys as well as the fact that I’d never met any of the other women. I had just made the discussion that I wanted to change schools because I was being bullied and had completely shut myself away.

I felt as the days went past I could speak the women and I was able to play with the girls who were younger than me.

They had a yurt which was red, in the field and we’d go there each day for a ceremony. As I had already started to bleed, I was no longer one of the girls so they asked me to join the women. I then had a special ceremony of my own.

The other girls and I made masks, with the help of our mums, covering our eyes and we all decorated them with feathers to look like a cranes although mine looked slightly different as I was joining the women now. I was taken on a blind walk with my mask being guided by Rachael around to the red tent to meet all the women.

We then had some songs and after all the girls had returned and some wonderful stories were told, I sat in the middle and had henna tattooed on by everyone, which was very moving. There was drumming, tales of mothers and daughters in the past and the stages of womanhood.

We all ate our food together, shared experiences together and all slept on the same holy land. I completely forgot about being scared and cried a great deal like I should have expressed before. We were able to explore the land alone with our mums and have a real adventure.

Our Blog Posts-

Earth Connection
Our Lodge is about being an antidote to modern life with all the technology and media, so we spend as much time as possible in nature, playing games, making fires, eating together in the wind and sun.

One of the girls favourite activities is fire making and drumming!DSC_0333

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Connecting Mothers and Daughters
One of the key parts of our lodge is connecting the mums and daughters.

Here we used natural face paints (ochres) – mothers and daughters painted each other while saying beautiful things to them.

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Womens Wisdom for Girls
By Rachael Crow  (Article for Juno Magazine, published 2015)

Our daughters imitate, especially from age 8 onwards, when the hormones begin to stir, they start to watch women, watch the older girls in their families and their peer groups.

I have found this is the time to scoop them into the loving arms of women. I have wanted to invite young women in to our red tent group for a long time, but it’s been met with resistance- “Isn’t entering the Red Tent a right of passage for the newly bleeding young woman?” So I began yearly gatherings, inviting mothers and daughters. Last year we watched the film “Monthlies” and discussed how it might be to celebrate your First Blood/Menarche, this year we arranged a “Community Menarche Ceremony” complete with storytelling and feasting afterwards…from this a desire came from the mothers and the daughters to have their own space, their own women and girls circle. YES!

menarche-2015_1cTo be able to pass on Womens Wisdom, women need to do some inner work first, you cannot pass on what you don’t have! I’ve been inspired by Gail Burkett’s book “Gifts From the Elders- Girls Path to Womanhood” she advocates women and girls groups – to include girls from 8-18, but stresses the need for the mothers and women to do the personal healing and community building first, she encourages women to create ceremonies that resonate with their own beliefs- whatever they are and celebrate themselves though “Catch Up” work, reviewing the major steps in your life, and sharing and honouring them with women.

giftsfromtheeldersI feel blessed that I discovered Womens Wisdom in my early 20’s and so have been practicing a sacred Moon Time Quest for many years- this is a simple practice of moon watching, taking yourself away from your day to day life and being quiet, perhaps journalling, drawing, sewing, meditating, but being quiet and slow, just in my bed room, shutting the door to the outside world for a while. Even if for a few hours, an afternoon, a day, a luxury might be for 3-4 days, but not many of us can spare that much time away from our families. Practicing this Womens Way will set a tone for your daughters to tune in to.

DSC_0474Talk, talk, and talk to your daughters, from as early age as possible and engage them in womens wisdom as is appropriate for their age, I have 2 daughters- a 25 yr old and 5 yr old, both of whom I have kept the dialogue open about all things “woman”. I remember my eldest coming home from school after the visit from the “Tampon Lady” with all kinds of money off vouchers for products they had attempted to brain wash her in to needing! I had a proud moment when she told me her and her friend had stood up and told the “Tampon Lady” and the teacher about my “soft and pretty” Moon Times pads that they both used!

My 5 yr old accompanies me out in nature and this spring has helped me forage wild nettles, cleavers and plantain, that are part of my self care routine, making teas and juices from them. She has quite a knowledge of wild edible plants, which would have been something all children used to be taught in our “hunter gatherer” times, she also notices the moons phases with me, and I talk to her about womens special connection with Grandmother moon as a way of introducing her to the moon time mysteries.

foragingWhen it comes to products for our young girls, again I would introduce the idea of cloth pads (or whatever your preferred choice for your daughter might be) as early as possible, in my experience is it much easier to show 8 yr old girls moon pads and sponges than 12 yr olds! And even 16-20 yr olds (unless they have a leaning towards the environmentally friendly or wanting to know ways to save money) they are quite horrified by them. When I have done talks in schools the girls love the cloth pads (“they are so much prettier than the white, sticking plaster pads my mum showed me”) and are really open to the idea of using them.

prettyfabricIf you have sewing skills than allow her to choose the fabric for the pads herself and make them together, so they are ready for when her time comes. (There are a few “make your own” patterns on the internet, and at Moon Times we have a few kits that include everything you need to make a couple of pads) .

When my daughter’s first moon came and she had adjusted to juggling pads and pencil cases, we decided that cloth wasn’t the best option for school (there was a fear of a soiled pad being found in her bag) so opted for the organic disposables and cloth at night.

If you have a particularly sporty young woman, she may have peers pushing her towards using tampons, my advice to mothers is to encourage the Moon Time Quest as a priority, yes to take gentle exercise when they are on their moontime- but I’m not a huge fan of using internals like tampons unless really necessary. I would suggest that at least for her first 6 -12 months of flowing that a young woman stick to pads, just to give her and her body time to adjust to having her moontime, and see how she copes with it. After all it’s only a few days out of the month so hopefully she wont mind missing swimming/riding on those occasions. A bit of fun dancing is fine in a pad – she could have a go at home to see how it feels to dance and flow! I would encourage her to tune into her body and see if she really feels like swimming or dancing at that time. Being kind to her self is whats needed- so maybe introduce her to yoga or take her for a stroll under the moonlight?

moonlightWhen daughters do feel the need for using something like tampons, I would show her some Moon Sponges (you can get small sizes, ideal for young women) or one of the many menstrual cups that are on the market and see how she feels about them. I’m not sure I would have wanted to use a menstrual cup at 12, but then I hadn’t grown up with them, so if that’s your preferred choice and she is used to seeing you use it, then she will probably be excited to have her own and feel grown up!

Most of all I recommend celebrating your daughter, coming together with her and other wise women in your community to plan and create a Menarche/First Blood Ceremony, where she is the guest of honour. A ceremony can be as simple as dressing in red, singing some songs, and eating cake, or if your family are into nature based activities then plan something outdoors that might include washing feet in a stream or burning wishes in a fire. In my book “Menarche- A Journey into Womanhood” I have many suggestions of ways to celebrate and also share some women’s stories, as well as highlighting the hormonal ebbs and flows and physical changes we go though each month.

I believe by showing our girls a different way of being, and being filters of what society and the media portray, we are changing our future, not only for girls and women, but for the men and boys too, for they are watching us, taking care of the children for us and they witness the rejuvenation that happens and are starting their mens circles and men and boys groups. When more and more women all over the world, moon watch and create sacred ceremonies and practices, miracles will occur! As women gather in circles of moon lodges and red tents, our stories are told, Herstory is being woven and times are changing.

Rachael Hertogs is a mother of 4 gorgeous children, she lives with her husband and 2 youngest in the Wilds of West Wales where she runs workshops, womens and girls lodges and her Moon Times business…they also have a small holding; growing veggies, keeping bees and playing with their chickens in the puddles and the sun!

She began her ‘menstrual journey’ when she started making cloth pads when she had her first child -over 26 years ago! This led her to explore her cyclical nature and find healthy ways to ease her PMT and work on her relationship to her body. Her passion lies in empowering young women through celebrating their first blood “Menarche” and believes the continuity of encouraging menstrual health in our young women leads to easier monthly flow and brings empowered women to their birth altar! She has written a book- Menarche- A Journey into Womanhood, a mums and girls guide to celebrating her first period! (available from www.moontimes.co.uk or Amazon)

Her websites:

www.rachaelhertogs.co.uk

http://www.moontimes.co.uk

http://www.moontimes.co.uk/blog

http://www.jamsponge.co.uk/

The Spirit drum. .. by Eartha Varda

In September the core group had a beautiful sleepover with the girls without their mums.

The focus for this time together was the drum. The women of our community here in West Wales have been gathering around the Spirit drum for about a year. The spirit drum is a drum used by Emma and Shando in many ceremonies, circles, camps and festivals since 1975 when it was made! It is a travelling drum that reaches many  circles,people and places.

The girls and children have been connecting with and playing the drum on this land, and we felt a flow that this community needed a community drum for their lodge. We felt guided to help the girls make a drum for their lodge , and for this community of women.

It was a beautiful ceremony, the drum was birthed with song and drumming of the spirit drum, as the girls took turns to weave and tighten the lacing and paint the barrel with ochre designs.

We told drum stories and played drum games with the spirit drum, whilst the drum was carried into its new home in the yurt.

Our May Lodge
Medicine Wheel teachings, combined with moon time wisdom – how our inner seasons mirror the outer seasons of our land. Clay offerings to the earth.

July Gathering at the Beach
Socialising, swimming, gazing into rock pools…making a labyrinth and altar to Yemeya…we walked the labyrinth each with a stone with an intention to release and let go of what no longer served us.

Spring Days 2018
As we have just started our third Lodge, I thought it might be interesting to those of you who have a passion for empowering women and girls to get a little info on what we do. Last Sunday was a perfect example of an amazing day with our older girls and how far we have come together as a lodge…We decided for the first time to split into 2 groups- the girls who have started their moon time sat around the fire with 3 women who are not their mothers, and the others went into the red tent to sit in circle and do some craft work with one of the other mothers. The openness of the girls was a beauty to witness, we passed a talking bowl and each girl shared honestly and open heartedly. There were moments of discussion and questions- from school, to embarrassing family moments, to managing your moon time on holiday…we went from serious topics to hilarious ones within moments of each other! And the group in the yurt had a lovely time being a smaller group, bonding more deeply without the ‘older girls’! The sun was shining, we all had a glorious afternoon picnicking outside and then learning a little about aromatherapy and making their own massage blends- with the finale being them all stripping off to their undies and giving each other massages… it was such a joy seeing how uninhibited they were together and how relaxed. It just affirms how much this work supports these girls with their self assurance and confidence!

Our “little sisters” lodge is quite different, they are mostly 8-9yr olds and as we are just starting the focus will be on bonding as a group, games, working with the seasons…At our last gathering we celebrated Imbolc by planting seeds, bulbs, willow, giving offerings to the land and having the story of Demeter and Persephone, finishing our session with a shared picnic lunch. As these girls are much younger we are only meeting for a few hours, but it worked and at the end of the morning all the girls enjoyed being welcomed into the red tent with singing and smudging and they all bravely spoke when the talking bowl was passed around!

Later that week I was caught off guard a little by my daughter insisting she was the only one at her friends birthday party with out make up…this shocked me, that girls at an 8 yr olds party would be wearing make up…at that age they might be ‘playing’ with makeup but not seriously putting it on for parties! Surely? And then I got an email from school reminding parents that make up was not allowed…so it’s coming into school now! Well I did speak to some of he mums- and I am assured my daughter isn’t the ‘only one’ not allowed make up…but it did get me thinking about the underlying issues …which you can read about in my blog here.

(c) Rachael Crow 2018