Women’s Circles, why we gather this way
According to Sharon G. Mijares, there is evidence of spiritual ritual gatherings occurring as early as 300,000 years ago, in Middle Paleolithic societies. Actual evidence is found that communities gathering for spiritual and shamanic experiences were present in Upper Paleolithic societies (over 30,000 years ago, long before modern humanity).
Women equally participated in circles around the fire for rituals, and did so also as they prepared food for families and their communities. During these times they shared stories and tribal experiences. Societies were egalitarian in earlier human stages.
Tragically, from the onset of patriarchal ideology, and related religious influences, this began to change approximately 6,000 to 4,000 years ago. This was accompanied by an emphasis on increasing cognitive development, resulting in more linear thinking and behaviors. Community and egalitarianism were replaced with patriarchy, resulting in divisiveness. However, gathering in circles to confirm the identity of the community through rituals, story-telling, dance and music.
Increasing numbers of women are discovering its potency for healing, meaning-making and enriching communications.
During the 80’s feminist movements, women around the world revisited the ritual of meeting in circles.
Gathering women in discussion and reflection allows for the short and long term empowerment of those who participate, with the ultimate goal of a gender-balanced world.