A group of women was visioning the future on November 8, 2014. It was the last session of a Red Tent Activation workshop in Mexico City, which I traveled from California to teach.
Spirits were high, the room was buzzing with excitement. We were floating on waves of sisterhood, inspired by each other, and by our inner strength. Our cellular memories were awakened. We could feel in our blood and bones the memory of sitting with women in Red Tents, Moon Lodges, Moon Huts: places where women went to renew themselves each month when they bled, for millennia.
We were planting seeds for A Red Tent in Every neighborhood, a vision that I birthed years ago through my Menstrual Empowerment work with women. Since that vision was born – Red Tents sprang in almost every country on Earth. There are Red Tents in cities and villages, in festivals and in living rooms, in nature and in inner cities. Alisa Starkweather birthed the Red Tent Temple Movement, and Isadora Leidenfrost traveled for two years around the United States to film women in Red Tents. She produced a deeply moving documentary called ‘Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories From the Red Tent‘, which brought the Red Tent vision to thousands of women who watched it worldwide.
The Red Tent Revolution is here!
Are you feeling the awakening? Only 20 short years ago the words ‘Red Tent’ were associated with nothing but camping. Anita Diamant’s book came out in 1997 and women all over the globe were touched by Dinah, a hardly significant character in the book of Genesis, who brings to life the women in her biblical tribe as they gather monthly in the Red Tent: bleeding, birthing, grieving… giving each other sustenance and support, honoring women’s cycles, dancing the dance of their lives…
When we sat in circle in Mexico City – we planted deep Red Tent seeds
What we birthed together was the foliage of an emerging mighty oak. This grass root movement needed its own day of celebration, much like International Women’s Day, that sprang from the ground up in honor of the 1908 women’s strike in protest against working conditions in the garment industry in New York. International Women’s Day grew from obscurity into a day observed worldwide! It is strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences. It is continuing to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
A Global Spiritual Celebration
Unlike International Women’s Day, our intention wasn’t political or economic, but spiritual. I am deeply convinced that both menstruation and menopause are spiritual journeys. Part of my work’s mission is breaking the taboos around women’s life cycles. This means making menstruation and menopause visible. It means reclaiming their true spiritual nature in women’s life around the world.
Women hid their menstruation and their menopause for too long! Having a day to celebrate them is but way of coming out of the Menstrual Closet. While this celebration is a yearly highlight, the journey of reclaiming menstruation and menopause is a cyclical endeavor. Take it on a daily and monthly basis!
I hope that by the time my daughter is a mother (if she chooses to become one), International Red Tent Day is a house hold celebration, in which generations of women celebrate who they are, and girls growing up can’t imagine a time when the world has ever been without it.