Below I address some common questions regarding our new moon circles.
What to expect during a circle?
The flow of our circles typically follows:
- Ritual greeting
- Invocation and lighting of the candle
- Centering exercise/meditation
- Introduction to astrological theme
- Creative visualization
- Reflection and journaling
- Group sharing
- Intention setting
- Group sharing of intention, if time allows
- Closing ritual
The astrological theme will be related to the current astrological sign of the moon and associated elements. You do not have to “believe” in astrology to use the theme; instead, the theme can be thought of as archetype or metaphor.
What are our circle dates for 2022?
I am working on the 2022 dates now and will update this section soon. In general, circles will be held on the Sunday closest to the new moon. We anticipate meeting virtually, Covid-19 and community-depending, as virtual offerings connect us with community members around the United States and the world.
- Jan 9th, 2022 930-11am Central
Where are the circles located? And how does sign up work?
I have partnered with The Resiliency Institute (TRI) in Naperville, IL, on and off since 2018, depending on their scheduling needs. When associated with TRI, the circles are located in the education building when in-person (“Clow” 2-story stone building, see the picture under the Gallery tab) at McDonald Farm, located near Knoch Knolls Nature Center on the southern end of Naperville. With notice, circles are occasionally outside. Parking is available along the wire fencing.
Please be aware that advanced registration is required and closes 2 days before our circle is held. I recommend early registration, as our circles are limited in size to allow for greater intimacy and sharing time. In addition, payment is required with registration and cannot be collected at the door. We cannot accept drop-ins due to the planning involved for the space and materials needed (for virtual or in-person).
Financial limitations should not prevent someone from attending; please let us know if this is a concern for you, and we can discuss other forms of energetic exchange (trade, volunteer assistance, etc) or a reduced rate.
You can find more information regarding the location and registration here, for circles The Resiliency Institute
Any logistic, registration, and/or payment questions should be directed to Allison (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Connie at The Resiliency Institute (email@example.com)
Are there any rules?
There are some basic “rules” to follow during circle.
The first is confidentiality – what is said in circle, stays in circle. While you may speak of your own experience, you may not share the words or experience of another participant without their permission.
The second rule (or group of rules) is in regards to council sharing or group sharing – when one person has the talking item, no one else may talk. We do not offer advice, unless specifically requested, and then, only at the end of circle. We practice presence while a participant speaks, refraining from thinking about what we will say and instead listen to their experience without judgement – it is time for the speaker’s voice alone. When speaking, it is recommended that community members use “I” statements to take ownership of the experience and avoid generalizations. If someone is experiencing powerful emotions (ex. crying), we do not, in general, offer them tissues, pat their back, or hug them at that time. Doing so is an interruption and distracts from their experience and ownership of the emotions – we are deflecting from the sharing person and might shut down the fullness of their moment. This presence is a practice for others as well in not moving toward “fixing” something or someone, but allowing.
The last rule is related to the above rules – deep listening without an agenda. As such, we don’t offer solutions or interpret the speaker’s words. You might notice if you agree or disagree with what is being said, but those feelings are not relevant to the moment, as we are focused on the speaker’s reality, not the listener’s.
What do I need to bring to circle?
The specifics might change, depending on the location (indoors vs outdoors at the Resiliency Institute), but in general, just yourself in comfortable clothes (yoga or street clothes), a journal and a pen or preferred writing instrument, yoga mat, a pillow or cushion to sit comfortably on the floor for meditation, and inside shoes or slippers, if circle is indoors. You may also wish to bring an item for our altar.
What is so healing about circles?
The gathering of community in which we can share our stories and have our stories stewarded is healing. Being “seen” and “heard” is part of belonging and communal, compassionate love. In circle, we create a safe community to be present to ourselves and each other – this is in striking contrast to our efficiency and productivity-oriented culture. We slow down and mindfully attend to the moment, our people, and ourselves. The mindfulness is healing, the creation of and being a part of community is healing, the introspection and recovery of deeper needs and desires is healing, the connection to nature (specifically through our TRI circles) is healing.
Readings that inform our circles: The Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Embodying the Feminine by Chameli Ardagh, and all works by Brene Brown.
Why have circles typically been gendered?
My circles are non-binary.
More commonly though, circles are crafted to support marginalized identities – those that are excluded from other spaces, labeled less than, etc. found strength and sense of belonging by making safe spaces free of those that are/were their oppressors. For example, those with marginalized identities are known to ignore their inner wisdom or experience when in spaces with prioritized identities (ex cis men), secondary to the -isms (internal and external, which we work to undo), socialization, gender norms (in my experience, it happens all the time).
**At this time, our circles are open and welcoming to persons with marginalized identities including women and nonbinary folks**
Why are circles referencing the new moon?
Astrologically and mythically, the new moon period is a time for going inward, self-inquiry and reflection, as well as intention setting verses the full moon, which is representative of expression and manifestation. The moon cycles, historically and metaphorically, have been linked with the menstrual cycle, with the new moon as being time of bleeding (think red tent here).
Let’s come back to the issue of gender – a leveling up.
Gender is a social construct and is non-binary. The concept and enforcement of binary gender is a result of colonization and patriarchy. Gender is beyond spectrum as a spectrum implies polar opposites, instead it is a fluid and multi-dimensional entity. The socialization that goes along with gender expectations is often limiting and harmful – we limit ourselves and each other with ridiculous expectations assumed to go along with genitalia, and we even gender traits and “energies” – problematic, arbitrary, and reinforcing the gender straight jacket. I try to navigate this issue carefully, I am always learning, and I am committed to challenging the gender binary (and other binaries).
My intent with these circles is service – I want to help the most individuals in the best way I can. Final decisions on the inclusion or exclusion of cis/het men within these circles will depend on the needs of this particular community, but at this time, I recognize the need for marginalized identity only space.
For more information on the fluidity of gender, see the books
- Untamed by G. Doyle
- Beyond the Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon
- Gender Outlaw by K. Bornstein
- Life Isn’t Binary by MJ Barker
Part of my personal and professional work and commitment involves being an ally and undoing harmful systems (through writing, through my teaching, through my work with children, and through these circles). My circles, OUR circles, embrace and honor diversity and the fullness of human presentation and experience, of all nationalities, ethnic and racial groups, sexualities, across ages (older teen to elders) as well as gender non-conforming people.
The affirmation of diversity might seem in direct conflict with the exclusion of cis/het men. My attempts with circle are to elevate and be inclusive and affirming of those that haven’t had supportive spaces for centuries (?, longer?). Most space cis/het men occupy feel safe to them; the same cannot be said for other identities.
What Makes My/Our Circle Unique?
The circles I facilitate on my own as well as through The Resiliency Institute (TRI) are influenced by my own personal and professional leanings.
- We welcome diversity and are open to folks with marginalized gender identities (see above).
- When associated with TRI, our circles include elements of nature connection via permaculture instruction and herbalism as a part of our theme and intention setting.
- I am a trained sexuality counselor and educator. Circles have included sexuality education since I launched them in 2018 – concepts such as gender identity and expression, relationship health and expression, mindfulness, inner wisdom, desire, joy, consent, self-esteem, body esteem are all related to sexuality and come up in every.single.circle. At the very least, our mindfulness trainings have the potential to carry over to sexual well-being by fostering presence and inner listening.
If my circle dates do not work for you or you want to explore additional women’s groups, please see:
The Global Sisterhood https://www.globalsisterhood.org/
Awakening Women: Women’s Temple: https://awakeningwomen.com/womens-temple/
The Wild Woman Project: http://thewildwomanproject.com/
The Divine Feminine App is available for free, created by a woman from St. Charles, IL. (see http://www.thedfapp.com/#/home and http://www.findawomenscircle.com/) The app allows users to search for women’s circles and events by location.
For a list of recommended books and podcasts for your own re-WILDing Journey, see: http://ignitewell-being.com/recommended-resources-for-rewilding/
Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org All material written by Dr. Allison Mitch (PT) is copyright protected. Photo is from Pexels.