Gathering the Girls: How to Create a Women's Circle
Women's Circles and Gatherings Empower Women Through Collective Growth
Leaving the bookshop in an early evening dusk, I had a sense of calm and determination. The last hour had consisted of belly laughs, snacks, discovery, tears, sharing, and understanding. I had held space with six other women who—over the last couple of months—had grown from good acquaintances to dear friends, thanks to these hours of intention we had been spending together. I left with the phone number of a new member, a plan next weekend to check out an art exhibit with another member, and excitement for our next Circle together.
A Women’s Circle can be incredibly enriching. While many metaphysical and spiritual centers host large ones with experienced leaders, there’s no reason why you can’t start your own with women who inspire you in your life. The space you create with these women should be one of personal growth and assisting each other in growth. Sharing what each member individually learns in their path through the Circles purpose and listening to other members experience is an incredible exchange.
Although Women’s Circles should be fun and stress free, a little (enjoyable!) work to create a structure will help the longevity and juiciness of your Circles. From my years of hosting Women’s Intentions Circles of all types and sizes, these are the structures that I found most helpful for Circle success.
Decide Your Circle’s Core Purpose
Simply to gather women is a lovely thought but can easily muddy the meaning of the gathering and who would like to attend. With a specific motive, you can create a more concise meeting agenda and potential members have a clear idea if this purpose calls to them. Some common Women’s Circle focuses are spirituality, meditation practice, communal support, empowerment, intention setting, manifestation experimentation, and mindful parenting.
Decide How and Where Your Circle Will Meet
Will you host this at your place? Perhaps you would like to rotate between members homes. Is there a local business that would support your circle like a bookstore or coffee shop after their opening hours? A public space like a park or library meeting room is free and neutral for all members. Is it easier to gather online so members don’t have to deal with commuting? If this is the case there are also free dial in meeting services for voice calls. The size and purpose of your Circle will help determine how you meet. If you intend on burning lots of candles and incense, perhaps a library conference room isn’t great. On the other hand if you have twenty women coming, you might not be comfortable having all those folks in your home. Keep in mind the content of your Circle and your sharing practices.
Determine Who Will Be in Your Circle
Perhaps you have friends you already know you want to invite. Be sure anyone you do invite is in alignment with the purpose and is enthusiastic about sharing and supporting others. Hosting a Women’s Circle can also be a great way to grow your circle of intention-minded people! Try posting on Meetup or on a community board in your area in places where there might be other like minded people, like a yoga studio, cafe or boutique. Always ask the business owner if you can post a flyer. Remember when gathering members that no circle is too small. Two women can create an amazing event and your energy of gathering will call more ladies to you in time. The stronger your vision and intention for your circle the more it will grow and support others.
Determine Guidelines for Membership
How relaxed is your membership? Can women come and go or do they need to make a commitment? This will depend on the involvement of circle members that you require. Do you want members to exchange hosting and running the circle each meeting? You probably want to create some incentive to keep people held to their promises to the group. Unfortunately, if someone sees this as a party or free therapy it can be frustrating Circling with members don’t hold up to their responsibilities. Be clear on the intentions of the circles membership from the beginning.
How Often Will Your Circle Meet?
How often do you want to meet? Once a month? Every full moon? Every new moon? Every time a member has a birthday? Your circle purpose will also help decide this.
Decide the Structure of Your Circle
Does everyone play a part each meeting? Does a different member curate the circle meeting each time? Is there a leader or two who creates the setting? Word of caution about this—a Women’s Circle should be about collaboration and exchange. Having a leader can sometimes turn into a preaching hour, or burnout the leader because they’re handling everything. If you’d like to be a steady leader, perhaps consider yourself founder and rotate the circle leader every few months. This will also help with members understanding the responsibility of joining the circle, when they’re expected to contribute and lead the group.
Create an Outline of a Meeting Agenda
Be creative with this! With all the different purposes a Circle can hold, the agenda will follow suit to its purpose. Here is a generic Circle meeting agenda example that covers an average Circle I’ve attended or hosted:
- Arrival and mingling with snacks and tea or cocktails.
- Opening statements and housekeeping announcements.
- Opening meditation, guided by the Circle host or whomever's turn it is that meeting.
- Taking turns sharing reflections from the meditation or discussion about prepared work or topic (this can be a poem, research on an inspiring woman, anecdotes from the members' week reflecting on circle purposes, etc.).
- Group work such as a ritual, single oracle card pull and share, team building exercises, art making, walking or dancing together, music jam, etc.
- Closing, such as intention settings until the next time you meet, one word from each member describing their feelings in the moment, a gratitude from the meeting, a prayer for the other members in the Circle, a group chant or mantra, etc.
- Ending Housekeeping like any work to be prepared for next meeting, any assignments that need to be made such as who will host, announcements of events that anyone knows of that relates the Circles purpose, etc.
Extra Tips for a Successful Circle
- Try and have one thing that strings your meetings together. Do you always start by burning incense? Is there a certain crystal or flower that is present? You could always follow the same structure or open or close with the same mediation. This creates an intended atmosphere that the time and place is specifically for your Circle.
- Have fun with the setting! Don’t underestimate decorations, pillows, blankets, candles, art, etc. Also, all wearing the same color or print can help create unity and connection. Are you gathering in a park at midsummer? Everyone wear a floral print! Be creative, theres no wrong way to do anything as long as everyone feels safe and included.
- Allow yourself and your structure to change. Some things will work. Others will not. Don’t get caught up in what didn’t work. Laugh with your ladies and move on.
A woman’s circle should be safe and empowering. Members should leave feeling awesome. While it may seem complicated to create space, a little bit goes a long way. Spending time in celebration of one another will always feel good. Happy Circling!
© 2020 Swamp Queen