Calling all Priestesses! Do you long to create connection with your women friends? Do you rock the liminal spaces of new moon and full moon esbats? Do you wish to take that practice to a new level? This is a two part series on how to start your own Goddess Circle. In part one, I share tips for creating a virtual circle. Next week, I will share tips for creating a live, in person circle.
When women circle, magic happens. I have been facilitating a live goddess circle for just about three years (July 12, 2012) and a virtual circle on Facebook for just over two years. Each circle provides healing in its own unique way. There is something magical when women circle together with no other agenda than to just BE ourselves at our most authentic level. I, for one, am entirely transformed by the experience each and every time.
We live in an interesting time and the internet has made it possible for us to connect in ways we never before could imagine. For women who are craving more, this means we have more opportunities for communion with the divine feminine! As a facilitator of Goddess Circles both in-person and online, I've been noticing two things lately:
1) women spend a lot of time on social media. They are connecting via smart phones during the day and on computers or tablets by night.
2) Regardless of whether/how women are accessing social media, they are starving for deeper connection with other women who "get" them. They want to feel part of something that is bigger than themselves. They want the intimacy, to be witnessed, to be heard, to be valued.
Whether you call it a woman's circle, a moon circle, a soul circle, a coven, a grove, a gathering, or even a virtual "quilting bee" here are a few tips to keep in mind when starting your own woman's circle in the virtual space.
Set Sacred Space
Creating a Facebook group to provide a place for women within your field to connect more deeply with one another is relatively simple, and I recommend setting your guidelines early, with the intention of making it a safe space. (You also must adhere to Facebook's policies, which you can read about here: Facebook Group Basics.)
I recommend the book, Sacred Circles: A Guide to Creating Your Own Women's Spirituality Group, as a resource for group guidelines. I used many of the suggestions as a template for my in-person Goddess Circle meetups, but some of the tips make sense for online groups, as well. For instance, "what is said here stays here..." and "we take responsibility for our own needs."
The space is sacred when you say it is sacred. Every time you uphold that intention, you are fortifying your circle boundaries.
Once you have clarity on your circle's purpose, it is time to consider whom you will invite to join. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
Who can become a member and how? Is it open to anyone? Clients and customers? Friends, trusted acquaintances? Do you charge for access to your group?
Some virtual priestesses charge a monthly subscription fee for the privilege of being in the group. Others use the group as a virtual forum for their eCourses. Some priestesses allow free access to anyone who asks. This is up to you as the leader. And by Goddess, PLEASE do not add people without their permission! This is not only inconsiderate, but against Facebook policies, too!
Whether you make your Facebook group public or private is entirely up to you, but I will caution you that Facebook has two privacy settings, "secret" and "closed."
A "secret" group is visible only to those members of the group. No one outside of the group can see anything.
If you create a "closed" group, the name of it, its members, and its description can be seen by the public—basically everything but the posts in the group.
Many women happen to feel more comfortable sharing in a secret group. This is not because they are trying to keep secrets -- quite the opposite is true! A woman needs a safe space to share her deepest secrets and be witnessed by those who honor and respect her journey.
As the priestess, you get to decide how engaged you wish to be with your circle. I know some leaders who are engaged almost 24-7 and I know some who take a very hands-off approach.
You may choose to connect with daily prompts, questions, or monthly themes. Or, you might just let the group have organic conversations of their own accord, allowing for members to post memes and questions and such.
Personally, I am middle of the road. I like to see the women take responsibility for their own desires and ask for support when they need it. It is also awesome to stumble upon thought-provoking questions and stirring conversations amongst the group. I try to engage frequently, knowing that you build trust by showing up, witnessing and responding.
Group psychology dictates that people will feel more confident when their leader is also confident.
An online circle has its unique set of challenges. If your circle becomes very large, for instance, you might consider enlisting the help of one or two additional priestesses to act as admins who can take turns monitoring posts and be present for the women in your group. I have seen chaos erupt in larger online circles as they grew beyond the facilitator's control, and that does no one any good. It is not only a disservice to the women you are trying to serve, but also embarrassing for you and the women of your circle to witness. If you notice any abusive comments, snarky comments, arguments among members and general bad vibes, as the facilitator you have to act on that immediately or it could get your circle reported and shut down.
As with most forms of online communication, remember that you lose a lot of your message by sheer lack of body language, vocal inflection, facial expression, etc... so I advise using friendly emoticons with your posts. Also, genuinely be interested in the lives of the women in your group, because despite the lack of physical presence, women are also highly intuitive and can sense the energy behind most comments and posts.
My best advice is to think of how you would like to be treated and be thoughtful, genuinely interested and to make it about them, not about you!
Come back next week for part two "How to Start A LIVE Goddess Circle"
My name is Dawn Champine and I am the Creatrix of The Goddess Diaries. I am very passionate about helping women remember their REAL GODDESS selves.