August 15, 2023 at 5:48 pm #email@example.comModerator
Creating a SHE RISES EMPOWERMENT CIRCLE
Materials and Preparation
• A full set of archetype cards
• A pretty cloth or shawl
• Pens to write with
• Journals or paper to write on
• A music player (phone, computer, or music system)
• Cell phone to record (optional in case people want their readings videoed or recorded)
Create an altar in the middle of the room with a nice cloth laid out on the floor or on a good-sized coffee table. Bring in some flowers, candles, or anything else that will make it look attractive and be meaningful to you. Create a strong, feminine field of sacredness and beauty.
Lay the cards out on the floor, image side up, facing outwards in a circle, so they can be seen right side up when people walk around them. If space is limited, they can be clustered, like in the image below, or if you have more room, they can form a circle.
Begin the Ceremony
Play soft music in the background as people enter the circle area where the cards are laid out. They will naturally want to look at the cards, but ask them not to pick up or touch the cards when they first see them. They will have a chance to choose a card later.
Once people are seated, begin with a grounding meditation, opening to the archetypal realm. (A sample script follows, but you can use your own words.)
Close your eyes and let go of the outer world. . . the world of expectations, the world of doing, the masculine world . . . and come inside to your inner world, saying hello to the power of your feminine soul.
Take a deep breath in and on the exhalation release any tension in the jaw, the shoulders, the chest or the belly. On the next breath in, imagine you are inhaling the power of the feminine, the power of the Goddess, igniting your power with hers.
As you exhale, imagine you are expressing your power easily and effortlessly in the world. Take a few more breaths in this way, inhaling and filling up, exhaling and releasing.
Send your roots down into the earth and feel the support of Mother Earth beneath you. Call on her strength to support you. Feel your body anchored into those roots, into the ancient forms of feminine power, into your ancestors.
Open your crown to the heavens and to the archetypal realm. Feel how the archetypes of the feminine have been suppressed and allow your heart to embrace this realm. Call on any ones you are familiar with: perhaps the Maiden, the Mother, or the Crone. Perhaps the Lover, the Dancer, the Creatrix, or the Empath. Imagine these archetypes awakening within you, and awakening within the collective, being recognized as natural expressions of feminine power.
Think of a situation that you may find challenging right now. Call on this archetypal realm to support you, to nurture you, to guide you in how you may handle it. Allow these archetypes to live in the imaginal realm, right here in this room, ready to give us their aid.
When you feel complete, you can slowly open your eyes and look around the room, acknowledging your sisters who are here with you, sharing this sacred time and space together.
Open a Discussion
Open a discussion with any or all of the possibilities listed below, depending on the nature of the participants and the amount of time available.
1. Ask each person to name a woman that has affected her life in a positive way. It could be her mother or big sister, or a past teacher, mentor, therapist, or even a prominent figure who inspired her from afar. What was the effect this person had on the participant, and what qualities made that possible? Allow a few women to share.
• My high school teacher who believed in me and encouraged my leadership skills.
• My mother who always encouraged creativity.
• Ruth Bader Ginsburg who fought for women’s rights.
• My first piano teacher who believed in me and encouraged my love for music.
2. Open up a discussion about women and leadership. Encourage the women to talk about the qualities they consider necessary for leadership. Focus especially on how women’s leadership may differ from men’s. Ask the women to name leaders they especially admire and why.
• I admire Michelle Obama because she speaks truth in such a vulnerable and powerful way.
• I admire Lady Gaga because she dares to be outlandish.
• I admire Greta Thunberg because she is such a warrior for climate change.
• I admire Oprah because she is a such a catalyst for awakening.
3. Invite each woman to now consider a situation in her life in which she needs guidance. It could be a problem she is struggling with, a decision she needs to make, or a virtue she is trying to develop. If she doesn’t have a personal issue to work on, she can pick something in the world.
• I have to make a decision whether to stay in this job or take something I would like better that pays less.
• I need advice on how to handle a difficult co-worker.
• I want to know how I can improve my relationship.
• I want to know how I can be more courageous.
• I would like to know what I can do to alleviate the homeless situation.
Picking a Card
Now that you’ve set the stage, invite the women to walk around the altar viewing the cards with this idea in mind, looking for an archetype that might have wisdom to offer to the problem or situation. Ask them to do this without speaking to each other in the process. Make a point of this, because chatter will want to take place and silence contributes to a more direct connection. Playing some soft music in the background will negate the discomfort of silence and enhance the sacredness. Encourage each woman to really take in the images and the titles and verbs on the front of each card. Let everyone circle the cards once without choosing a card, so all cards have been seen.
After the cards have all been viewed, invite each woman to pick one card that she feels drawn to that might give her insight into the problem she thought about earlier.
If someone wants a card that has been taken by another, they have to pick a different card. (Often people are amazed when that happens that they got the perfect card after all.) Then each person returns to her seat with the card.
After everyone has picked a card and completed their reading of it, ask them to hold the card in front of them, image side out, so all can see what each other have picked. When all have turned their cards outward, you are ready to begin this meditation.
Use a guided meditation like this:
So now that you have read about your archetype, it is time to merge with her and embody her.
The archetype is a power that can only be activated through a living human, through you. When you make an alliance with an archetype, she lends you her power and you in turn help her accomplish what she needs to do in the world. You bring her presence to all of us, blessing us with her wisdom.
Hold your card, image side up, in your hands. Gaze at the image, taking in everything you can about her. Imagine entering into the picture, surrounding yourself with her surroundings, feeling her body as your body, her words as your words, her heart as your heart. Imagine seeing out through her eyes, hearing with her ears, until you can imagine actually becoming her — mind, body, and soul.
Stand up if that feels appropriate and begin to move as she might move, even making sounds if that comes through you. Imagine you have been that archetype for eternity, bringing her message and essence to the world. How does she stand? How does she walk? How does she feel? What is she trying to do? What gets in her way? What power does she bring you? What is her message to you?
When you feel complete, bring the image to your heart and return to your seat.
We will now take turns enacting the cards for each other.
Begin by sharing your card image, and saying, “I am the (archetype) and I (verb).” (for example, “I am the Lover and I cherish.”
Say a few words about you chose that card, how it relates to you, and anything you learned in the She or You section that struck you.
Then you will read aloud the “I’’ poem on the back of the image. Read it slowly, taking in the meaning of each word. Read it in an embodied way, as if she is speaking through you. And if you have words you want to add that come through, by all means feel free to speak them.
When you are complete, the group affirms the archetype and the verb: “You are the Benefactor and you Bequeath.” Or “You are the Initiator, and you Ignite!”
Then invite each person to read to themselves the three voices of the card, I, She, and You.
Ask the women to place their cards on the floor or their lap when they have read the card through, so you know when they are complete.
When all are complete, invite the women to all stand, and with some music or light drumming, invite them to embody the archetype with some gentle movements. How would she hold herself, how would she walk? How would she feel inside? This can take just a few minutes. Then the women can sit down again.
Then proceed to the next person, either by volunteering, or simply going round the circle.
After each woman has silently read about her card, talk about how the “I” voice on the card is an evocation of the archetype and explain what an evocation is.
An evocation is where an archetype or a spirit speaks directly through you, using your body and voice to speak to the world.
Set the example, by powerfully reading the “I” voice of one of the archetype cards.
Then invite the women to take turns reading the poem on the card, embodying the archetype, and speaking it powerfully into the circle. Tell the women that if something comes through that is not written on the card, it’s OK to speak it. If men are participating, they can try and change the pronoun for example, or they can read it as is and relate to their own feminine nature.
After each person speaks the evocation, invite her to share anything she learned about that archetype from the “She” section – and any part of the advice from the “You” section that particularly spoke to her.
“I never knew that more women died after midwives fell out of favor. And I feel this speaks to me because I am always helping other people birth things, but seldom birth something of my own.”
When she has finished, invite the person to take a body position that reflects the energy of that card. It need not be the same position as the one in the picture, but something that comes from within her own body. The group can then say, in unison, the name of her archetype and the verb, in a you voice.
Example: “You are the Benefactress and you bequeath.” “You are the Initiator and you ignite!”
Then she returns to her seat, and the next person takes a turn.
If you know the woman personally, you might reflect how you see that archetype in her.
• “I see the Dancer in you, because you always move so gracefully.”
• “I see the Shepherdess in you because you are always caring for others.”
• “I see the Protectress in you because you are not afraid to be fierce.”
To complete the process, after all who wish to have taken a turn, invite each woman to stand up, forming a circle, and hold her card face out. Do a go-round where each one speaks the archetype and the verb.
• “I am the Spinner and I Begin.”
• “I am the Angel of Mercy and I Care.”
• “I am the Priestess and I serve.”
One round is likely enough for a circle of 10-15 people for an 1-2 hour evening.
If so, complete the circle by thanking the archetypes, and everyone who attended, collecting the cards (and either selling them or letting them know where they can get them), and closing the circle.
Light snacks and beverages can be shared.
If you have fewer people, or you have more than a couple of hours, you can do another round, repeating the steps above, but this time choosing a card that is very unfamiliar, or even frightening. This develops something new and can even produce more powerful results.
A third possibility is to turn the cards picture side down and do another round picking one at random.
These options can also be done in a subsequent meeting. Running a group that meets 3 or 4 times, or even goes for a few weeks can allow women to get to know more of the archetypes and deepen the bond with them.
If there is interest, you can convene a group that meets for 6 weeks or so. Every time you meet, someone picks a different card, so over time you learn about the archetypes, you can bring in the shadow work we included here, or have the group work toward a performance for each other at the end, with memorized poems, costumes and music!
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