Red Tent for Women and Men?

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Whenever women asked me if they can bring men to the Red Tent,
I answered with an emphatic No!

The Red Tent is a sacred space where women gather, share, and sit in sacred space AS WOMEN.
Why open it to men?
Don’t we need our space apart? Don’t we revel in the safety of circling with women? Aren’t we deeply fed by women’s witnessing us?

This isn’t the first time I have changed my mind,
after enthusiastically saying “Never!” for a long time…

One of the most dramatic cases was my deeply held conviction that I wouldn’t want to become a mother. That my calling is what I am here for, and that a woman can be complete without being a Mom.
I still believe this.
But at the age of 42 I changed my mind, and gave birth to a uniquely amazing human being, who has recently begun making her way in the world as a young adult.

I NEVER thought I’d change my mind about the Red Tent, though :-)

And then I had a shamanic dream.
I walk up with the deep realization that It is Time…

It’s time to open a window to our men, NOT instead of our sacred women spaces, but in Addition

While we have been reclaiming our Menstrual Cycle as a source of empowerment, men are (still) left in the dark, mystified by our cyclicity.

Following the guidance I received by my dream,
I will be opening the First-Ever Red Tent space for Women & Men!

Yes, Red Tents are Women’s Sacred Spaces
and will Continue to be so!

Yet, it’s Time to Open A Window to Our Men,
on Special Occasions…

 I believe that our Womb Wisdom, gleaned sitting in the Red Tent, holds Road Maps for a new Paradigm.

I believe that keeping our Womb Wisdom to ourselves served us well over a few decades of empowerment. Yet doesn’t serve the Whole anymore.

I believe that when women and men truly SEE each other, and fully accept each other — World Peace is possible!

Once again I learned to “Never say Never”!

It is a humbling, expanding, and exciting road I am embarking on, and invite you to travel with me.

In order to maintain safety in the circle, it is important that Women & Men are represented in Equal Numbers. This will be ensured by inviting folks to register as PAIRS: siblings/ couples/ family/ friends/ or colleagues. Each man entering the circle will be personally invited by a woman.

These will be Circles of Equals, in which we will open a window to men, sharing what it means to be cyclical. Witnessing and being witnessed we will honor differences, find commonalities, and deepen collective healing.
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I will likely travel with this work, yet I am called to offer it first in my local community of Northern California.

This is a ground breaking, first-of-its-kind workshop,
and I invite you to be at it’s birth!

I’m honored and joyful to be answering the call to offer this work as a step in our collective ushering of a new paradigm.

Join me to change the world!

Click HERE to read more,
and join me from wherever you are!

27 Responses

  1. I am saddened to read this. There has to be a safe space that is for women only –now more than ever. We need to learn our beautiful mysteries from each other, not from worn out texts and old judgment forged by centuries-old patriarchy. Women always find ways to open with EVERYONE. In communities, schools, work, or any place where we find ourselves. Whether it’s called a red tent or a women’s circle, it is necessary for women to gather and just be with each other, sing our songs, share our stories, teach, learn and offer support. We grow, find our strength, meet our challenges, feed the world! A Women’s Circle is like the oxygen mask metaphor, no??
    I am a wife and a mother of a son and while I feel that men need our support as we move forward through these challenging times, women have to reclaim their sovereignty first and we need to feel safe doing so. We open ourselves to each other with kindness, a lot of love and compassion and we heal the world. A ripple effect!
    A former colleague of mine once challenged me saying “Human Rights first!” “Ok,” I said, “but first Women’s
    Rights and you’ll see the world heal!”
    Maybe consider another name for women and men gatherings? I feel confident you will continue to keep the Red Tent a place for women.

    1. Thanks for your transparency. I agree with you wholeheartedly! The Red Tent is, and will continue to be, a space for Women Only!
      Opening it, on special occasions, to men — is an Addition. This will never replace the Red Tent Woman-Only Sacred Space. It will add occasions in which women educate men, and share what it means to be cyclical, and what we Need from the men in our life as Cyclical Beings.
      Women-only spaces are a necessity.
      We are expanding our range of experiences to include men at designated times, by no means are we limiting our own, sacred, women-only spaces, which we have collectively created, and continue to nurture and grow,,,

  2. I’m deeply grateful for your sciamani dream!
    I’m feeling the same Deanna. Men and women need to be hold together in the same sacred space. In the same sacred Womb. It’s time for the inner union of Sacred Masculine and Feminine. It’s now! Please bring your new awareness to Italy as soon as possible. I’m looking forward to meet you again!

  3. To change one’s mind is to grow and it is to be with what our changing world needs as we face so much together. Beautiful. And for historical reasons, I want to say that for many years as the founder of the Red Tent Temple Movement I have brought this concept forward too and have experiences with men in the Red Tent at specific times. The reason for this was many but for the most part because the Red Tent is for me symbolic of the womb and we all come from this place. If we want men to remember the sacred feminine within each of us, the place becomes a place where that connection can easily be made. Because also this is a place where women’s leadership has been present, there is a certain humility that a man experiences by being in the Red Tent. In 2010 we had a workshop with men and women at Earthlands – Love is Our Power- in which a moving experience took place in the Red Tent with men and women. Women called forth a particular man to show up for his son and that we needed him to be all the qualities needed for children. He then was invited to go through a birth canal from this womb space made among women and when he reached the opening of the tent he was given to hold one of our baby son’s. This changed his life. Men have also done processes with their mothers, sisters, daughters and have come home to their deeper wisdom. The Red Tent at the Parliament of the World Religions has been open globally among all faiths to everyone no matter who they were and incredible councils and circles of healing have transpired. These things I have spoken about openly and will continue to. As we continue to see what this movement can offer humanity, as we learn also about how to make space for transgender or non-binary people- the Red Tent will continue to evolve to what is needed for this space to be a place of healing and support for what can happen when we honor the womb from where we came. Thank you for your visionary work DeAnna and all of what you have given over the years to this movement among us. May your gathering bring continued evolution in how we show up for life itself. Many blessings. ALisa Starkweather

    1. Thanks, ALisa, for your warm and wise words. I honor your heart and path of passion, commitment, and dedication to women, and to humanity, over decades…
      It is beautiful to know you have been, and continue, to include men, at times, and the profound effect that has…
      I am humbled to know this is not the first time men are included in red tent gatherings…
      The workshop I have developed is the fruit of my own labors, and it is an honor to know it is joining a path that has already begun to be forged…
      I have changed the sentence in my post that assumed this was the first time men are welcomed into the red tent.
      Many sisterhood blessings to you…

  4. Maybe limited, selective men space at selected times – if at all. Women need our own defined space in a world /society that was designed by men to support and perpetuate their own needs. Men have plenty of space and they know how and do, to take that space. Men have also been removing wombs as treatment for many “ailments” for decades primarily because they fear womb power. The definition of Red Tent is womens’ space and time. You were not very clear about what you meant about including men. If it’s for educational and understanding purposes, and very limited and controlled that might be OK. However, it’s likely I’m outta here.

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly! The Red Tent is, and will continue to be, a space for Women Only!
      Opening it, on special occasions, to men — is an Addition. This will never replace the Red Tent Woman-Only Sacred Space. It will add occasions in which women educate men, and share what it means to be cyclical, and what we Need from the men in our life as Cyclical Beings.
      Women-only spaces are a necessity.
      We are expanding our range of experiences to include men at designated times, by no means are we limiting our own, sacred, women-only spaces, which we have collectively created, and continue to nurture and grow,,,

  5. I don’t understand why you are opening it to men? You don’t explain it in your email
    Another thing is you mention that women have been connecting with womb energy for”decades”. This isn’t true. Women have been connecting with womb energy for many millennia. Now is not the time to call men into women space in my opinion. It is time to differentiate our space for healing. In times past, men honored and protected women only space.
    Peace, Julie

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly! The Red Tent is, and will continue to be, a space for Women Only!
      Opening it, on special occasions, to men — is an Addition. This will never replace the Red Tent Woman-Only Sacred Space. It will add occasions in which women educate men, and share what it means to be cyclical, and what we Need from the men in our life as Cyclical Beings.
      Women-only spaces are a necessity.
      We are expanding our range of experiences to include men at designated times, by no means are we limiting our own, sacred, women-only spaces, which we have collectively created, and continue to nurture and grow,,,
      As for your other point:
      Women connected with their wombs for millennia, indeed.
      Yet it’s been generations now since our womb, blood, and cycles have been shamed, clad in taboos and negativity. It’s been a few short decades since we begun to reclaim our ancient womb wisdom.
      I feel it is time to educate men about the sacredness of our womb, about our cyclicity and needs, in Addition to continuing to sit in women-only red tents.
      I pick & choose what you wish to put your energy to…

  6. Hello Deanna, thank you for all your study and work to help us women to understand ourselves more deeply and to be willing now to help bring our understanding to our men.
    My main concern is that you/we don’t now abandon our exclusive studies and sharings about being real women and girls. Your circles of friends and students may be more understanding, but there are plenty of girls and women out here who still need to learn about and keep sacred the knowledge of themselves. So I hope that that aspect of what you have created will be protected and nourished and retained as integral for many years to come.

  7. As an elder sitting in the Grandmother Lodge – and as a Shamanic healer working within my community especially with girls and women, I find I cannot agree with the propect of opening up the Red Tent to men.

    By all means include men, but perhaps the best way to do this would be to develop a green/orange/black/white or some other appropriate colour for a mixed tent, where men and women can sit together and learn much about each other.

    Why am I against this proposition?

    Because the Red/Purple tent concept along with the Moon Lodge and Grandmother Lodge, are seen a safe and sacred places; especially for young girls and women coming into their menses or who have passed their fertile years. I don’t know any girl or young women who would feel comfortable or safe discussing bodily issues with men present.

    The same goes for the Grandmother Lodges – a place where those of us in our Crone aspect can sit in comfort and safety to talk, sing, laugh and offer prayers to the Sacred Feminine.

    Introducing men into what has always been a Sacred female space changes the dynamics of everything.
    Women need spaces where they can talk freely – be themselves without embaressment or judgement; where the shared common experience is understood and appreciated. A place where advice and wisdom from others is valued. These spaces have always been places where feminine magick is alive and shared.

    By introducing the male dynamic and yes – ego – you are changing a positive experience into something much less.

    I see this move less as ‘ushering in a new paradigm’ but more of another retrospective step for women, their place, their feelings, their privacy and emotions; something we Grandmothers have been working to building up for many, many years.

    In conclusion, I have to add that my own Guides (I am a Shamanka) both male and female are not particularly enamoured with the idea.

    Bright Blessings.

    River Woman x

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly! The Red Tent is, and will continue to be, a space for Women Only!
      Opening it, on special occasions, to men — is an Addition. This will never replace the Red Tent Woman-Only Sacred Space. It will add occasions in which women educate men, and share what it means to be cyclical, and what we Need from the men in our life as Cyclical Beings.
      Women-only spaces are a necessity.
      We are expanding our range of experiences to include men at designated times, by no means are we limiting our own, sacred, women-only spaces, which we have collectively created, and continue to nurture and grow,,,

  8. I have to agree with River Woman. The Red Tent/Moonlodge is a sacred space for women because it is there that our flowing energy can flow in harmony. It is a resonance that is shared and partly because it is protected, supported and nourished by like resonances. Like in music, when you introduce another note or vibration, the flow will change and as much as any male is desiring to be in a harmony with women (and many are) they resonate differently- not good or bad- but from a different place.
    I also agree with creating or co-creating a new lodge where men and women can ‘tent’ together in the same spirit either during moontimes or in harmony with lunar cycles. I agree with the need to bring the male being into alignment with the emerging Divine Feminine and that perhaps the format of the red tent is a preschool for that mission, but I personally would rather see that endeavor as a separate and new tent than to usurp the history, purpose and spirituality of the red tent/moonlodge which is still a very new reality to most women.

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly!
      The Red Tent is, and will continue to be, a space for Women Only!
      Opening it, on special occasions, to men — is an Addition. This will never replace the Red Tent Woman-Only Sacred Space. It will add occasions in which women educate men, and share what it means to be cyclical, and what we Need from the men in our life as Cyclical Beings.

  9. Dear Community and De’Anna,

    Yes, while I agree with the facts that as community, we have had a cyclic existence, honoring the Sacred Feminine as Lunar Guide and during the Dark Moon, traditionally, in a balanced community, we maidens would bleed and sit in darkness and light together, bathe, sing, dance, worship and tell stories.
    On the Full Moon, community would gather and worship, celebrate, enjoy and share.
    Half moons were set aside for the brothers, the men to gather.

    However, with times having changed so much and so many of us out of touch with the Earth/Moon cycles and that of the Sun as well, which have led us further astray from our original Creator connection, I can see how visions such as De’Anna’s come to be.

    First of all, it is written in the Wholey Torah, that men did in fact bleed at one time in our past.
    Legend says that men used to be so much more in touch with the Great Mother, Great Creator, that they too used to bleed cyclically. But as men separated from the Goddess over time, they became more patriarchal, disconnected from their own feminine and therefore, stopped bleeding.
    This can also be shown in young women who become too masculine and lose their menstrual cycle when they have lost too much weight or are very athletic.

    Margueritte Rigoglioso goes more into the details of how men fell from grace and ego dominated them as they moved further away from the Goddess within.

    Perhaps, what De’Anna is seeing is that she is being asked to support men to move back towards the Goddess, not away from Her.
    And River woman, I can understand where you are cautious.
    We as women have suffered greatly under Male oppression and we would never choose to have to suffer any longer.

    There was a time when all people were connected with the Great Mother and we all lived on and with Earth harmoniously.
    If in fact De’Anna has been clear in her reception of this vision, I would invite us all to continue this dialog and ask the necessary questions to become very clear that this step is indeed what us being called for.

  10. I believe that the Red Tent should remain for women (and girls) only, and that there should be an additional space (let’s call it the Green Tent for the sake of it) for women and men who want to learn together from each other how to reconnect with our feminine sides.
    To all of those who are concerned about letting men in, I strongly believe that the men who are most likely to attend such a “green tent” are those who are truly interested in such a connection, with their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, female friends and colleagues, as well as the feminine energy within themselves. If that is true, I don’t think there is reason to worry.
    On the contrary, I feel that part of what caused men to oppress women throughout the ages, was their envy of women’s ability to gather and connect with each other and with Mother Nature. The most common thing one is likely to hear from a man talking about his woman partner or about women in general, is men’s lack of ability to understand women. If we have an opening to share Women’s Wisdom with those men who are ready to learn, let’s go for it.

  11. DeAnna,

    You bring such brightness and richness to the world and the very many people touched by you in it. Even I from far away, having never attended a class or workshop — only the February lectures online — have been touched by these blessings you have to offer.

    Please, Grandmother, tell me where do you see transgender individuals fitting into this picture? Good, knowledge, noble people have been down this personal path of transformation. They are blessed with a give of translation between peoples, and also deserve to grow and heal themselves. So me how do we all love more? In what ways do we welcom them too?

    1. Dear Angil,
      Thank you for your kind words about my work, and your sincere question.
      I would like to make a distinction between Women’s Circles and Red Tent Circles.

      I believe ALL women need to be welcome to Women’s Circles, whether they were born women or not.
      Women’s Circles focus on women’s lives, and all women belong there.

      Women’s Red Tents are slightly different, at least in the way I hold them.
      They focus on our menstrual cycles, and on healing the wound of not having been welcomed to womanhood when we came of age as girls (indeed not all Red Tents hold this focus, but the ones I offer – do).

      Over the years I was approached a number of times by transgender women (male born), and was asked whether they can join the Red Tent (which was offered for women).
       
      I always respond with a question:
      I ask any transgender woman — what is her NEED to be in a group that will focus on an experience she doesn’t share (Menarche, and menstruation)?
      I ask her how would it FEEL for her — to listen to First Blood stories, and have no story of her own?
      How would she feel being the ONLY ONE that that has no common experience with the others?
      Would she feel that she BELONGS?
      Would this increase her sense of Womanhood?
      Or would this increase her sense of being an OUTSIDER?
       
      I never deny access to any transgender woman,
      but I truly believe that each woman needs to REFLECT on whether joining the Red Tent will serve a true need for her?
      Or if it will serve to increase her sense of being an “outsider”?
       
      If a transgender woman comes back to me, after reflection, and speaks of her true Need, I always welcome her.

      However, in all the times I had these conversations with transgender women,
      they each decided Not to register to the Red Tent,
      because, upon reflection, they realized that they didn’t actually have a Need 
      to be in a circle that focused on Menstruation, Cyclicity, and the Womb, 
      since these are experiences they do not share.

      This is my experience so far, and I hope it helps…

      Many blessings on the path…

  12. De’Anna and Other Readers,

    Angil asked me for my thoughts as a trans woman (and her close friend) on this post. I preface this by saying I’m an activist for inclusive feminism. I spend a lot of time thinking about this type of thing and have even been on panels about it.

    I regularly attend a Red Tent, which due to the pandemic is currently online. Prior to the pandemic it was usually located in a UU church in Hudson, MA, USA. Like you, there are times (possibly yearly) that our leader holds an all gender tent. I’ve never attended an all gender tent. I know that she does not require there to be at least as many women.

    I’ve been to an event that was originally meant to be for women but then a man heard about it and used his male privilege to get men added. It felt like the men did most of the talking and like many of the other women didn’t feel comfortable asking their questions because they were present. Like you, I believe that men should be allowed to learn about women in a safe space. While women are hurt far more by gender roles, all genders are hurt by gender roles.

    It sounds like your tent is more focused on the menstrual cycle than the one I attend. I recently took part in a Planned Parenthood storytelling seminar. Like most women’s spaces I enter, I had a lot of imposter syndrome about attending. I had expected the seminar to be solely focused on abortion, something that could never happen to my body. I relaxed as I discovered that people were also talking about birth control and healthcare. I told my story, which was about medical gate keeping. At the end of the session a woman mentioned her concern about how men regulate the bodies of people with ovaries, which brought me back to imposter syndrome.

    I started my transition at about the same time my daughter started puberty. I was afraid that she would be embarrassed by this. Instead of being embarrassed it actually brought us closer than we ever have been before.

    Obviously not all women menstruate. Most women who do not menstruate have gone through menopause. Some women do not menstruate as they have had an an oophorectomy. Recently I had an orchiectomy and the wound bled for 5 days. I now know what it’s like to discover blood in my underwear. While I’ve never personally experienced PMS, some trans women experience it monthly due to the hormones they take.

    Let’s say you asked me those questions. Here is how I would probably respond:
    Q) What is her NEED to be in a group that will focus on an experience she doesn’t share (Menarche, and menstruation)?
    A) As a mother, a daughter, and a granddaughter, it helps me have a closer connection to the women in my life. It also helps me better understand my own femininity.

    Q) I ask her how would it FEEL for her — to listen to First Blood stories, and have no story of her own?
    A) While my story is different, I have the story of my orchiectomy. Not all trans women with have bottom surgery. It’s a different story and I suspect I would feel some amount of imposter syndrome. A lot would depend on the women I was with and if I felt they were comfortable with me.

    Q) How would she feel being the ONLY ONE that that has no common experience with the others?
    A) That’s just absurd, but perhaps you meant no common experience of menstruation with them. I’d be more worried about how the others felt about not having the common experience of mine. My daughter has attended the Red Tent with me twice. At least one of those times was before her menarche. Our women’s only tents allow all women and mature girls (even if they have not yet had their menarche). I believe that this better prepared her for menarche and her subsequent cycles.

    If you actually meant no common experiences, well here are the common experiences I’ve had with most American women:
    I’ve been cat-called.
    I’ve had doors held open for me.
    I’ve had people judge me for my looks instead of my thoughts.
    I’ve been turned down for a job due to my gender.
    I’ve felt unsafe in the presence of one (or more) men.

    Q) Would she feel that she BELONGS?
    A) I feel like I belong in the one I attend. I feel like I belong at many women’s only events. Your tent seems to differ from the one I attend. I’m sure I would feel imposter syndrome. I’m not sure I would feel that I belong.

    Q) Would this increase her sense of Womanhood?
    A) Without hesitation, YES!

    Q) Or would this increase her sense of being an OUTSIDER?
    A) I would only feel like an outside if I sensed you and the other women felt I was an outsider.

    Let me flip this for a moment. I don’t know how you would describe your race and ethnicity but from your pictures I suspect you are white and you certainly pass as white. I am also white, but I work to be an ally to people of all colors. If all the regulars in your tent were/are white (which may not be true . . . but just pretend it is true) who would a Latina or a black woman feel? What would you do to make them feel welcome? Would you recognize your white privilege? Would you understand that your experience is VERY different from theirs? Would you understand that their bodies have been weaponized against them? Do you know that white women’s tears are weapons against them?

    You’ll never know what it’s like to be have somebody connect with you on a dating app just to say, “You’re a father, put on some pants and take care of your kids.” You’ll never know what it’s like to not feel welcome with either gender. You’ll never know what it’s like to have Health and Human Services declare that medical professionals can deny you emergency treatment.

    I hold leadership positions in multiple non-profits. I have to be a gate keeper to keep my communities safe. Much of my gate keeping has been to prevent sexist men from joining my company. Your gate keeping seems to be about creating safety at your events. I would not have started attending red tents if it weren’t for the fact the leader of my tent personally invited me multiple times and made it VERY clear I was welcome to attend. Your tent is different and one of the ways it is different is that rather than trying to bring in trans women you appear to try to dissuade us from attending.

    I realize my message is provocative. I don’t know you or your community. I don’t have enough information to know if you are an inclusive feminist. Overall, I respect your original post. I’m sure you and I have a lot of beliefs in common. Please don’t take this as an attack but an opportunity for growth. <3

    1. Forest,
      Thanks for your thoughtful response!
      I was by no means offended.
      I thought your points were pertinent and well made.
      I’d like to respond to them :-)
      – The most important point I’d like to clarify is
      that my primary focus, passion, and calling is Menstrual Empowerment for women and girls.

      There are many women’s circle, and group activities, where inclusion is (rightly) the main priority.
      I respect and honor these groups.
      My focus is different, and I stay true to my passion of
      helping women reclaim menstruation as sacred,
      offering spaces where women – of Any age – receive the Menarche Rite of Passage they never had,
      and inspiring women to reclaim Menstruation as a source of inner guidance and inner strength.

      I understand and value transgender women’s shared experience with cisgender women.
      My references pertained only to Menarche and Menstrual experiences.

      – As for my origins:
      I was born in Romania, grew up in Israel, lived in Europe, and now in the USA for close to 3 decades.
      My skin is white.
      Yet as soon as I open my mouth, my accent clearly discloses me as a non-American. My experience as a foreigner in the U.k. where I lived for 5 years, and the U.S.A. where I currently live, are but one way in which I have experienced being “other”.
      I grew up in a dominant Jewish culture, in a country that occupies, oppress, and actively teaches & practices racism towards Arab/Palestinian people.
      I had walked a long journey of awakening from (most) of my cultural conditioning, both as woman and as a Jewish person in Israel.
      In the years before I left Israel, I worked in Neveh Shalom/ Wahat Al Salaam School for Peace in Israel/Palestine, facilitating encounter workshops for Jewish and Arab youth and adults.
      I do not live in Israel since I can’t in good conscience live in an apartheid system.
      My internalized racism is an ongoing inquiry, in relation to my country of origin, as well as my current country of residence.

      I appreciate again your open discussion, and hope I have addresses your queries.

  13. Yes. Well said. Thank you. The last company I worked at had a Muslim CEO and an office in Egypt. I lived with my family in Cairo for 1/2 a year. It was an eye opening experience and I try to be an ally to Muslims. I’m not sure if I would want to be in your specific Red Tent but I believe I would enjoy knowing you. Be Well.

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