What does Red Tent mean for me?


In 2013 I went to my first red tent. I felt so bonded and full of passion after an experience of inititaion with Women in Power that despite feeling very nervous a friend and I led that tent so perhaps it wasn t the most typical first experience but it lit a fire in my soul and was wonderful nonetheless. It went really well and more tents flowed organically. My feeling is when there is thirst for something and a deep recognition of its importance something can open out really easily and that is certainly what we found with setting up the Brighton Red Tent. A small core group of women gathered and we began to explore what true collaborative women's leadership is all about. What really worked for us was having our steering group circle and supporting the tent which grew really rapidly. We shared the responsibility of leading the tent monthly, so that sometimes we held and sometimes we where held. The tent flourished because we were seen, heard and held, the outward potency a reflection of how we were leaning to hold each other and ourselvs. I feel this balance of loving by receiving and loving by giving is essential if a project is going to be truly sustainable and nourishing for those involved. It is such an aspect of the wounded feminine to give and give more than is available. Our model taught us lots about this and I know it helped me to rewrite the script.

red tent group brighton

For me the Red Tent is a space to simply be,

It allows the many faces I hold up for the outside world and the responsibilities I carry to slip simply from my shoulders. To arrive naked with my sisters and trust in the deepest wisdom of the feminine to reveal its self. There is something ancient in the way this wisdom comes in the chamber of the Tent, for it is more than a physical space and for me represents that which is most deep and knowing in the souls of each of us. Red Tent gives us time and kind space to honour its presence and listen to its calls. Keeping our tents free of promotion of our work of any kind and making sure that they were always free was such an important principle for us at the Brighton Red Tent. I feel it has greatly contributed to the longevity and health of our community. There are so many places where we can promote ourselves especially in a therapy strong town like Brighton, so we had a place free from that to be with what was really important.

The alchemy of the group seems to allow the resonance of whatever is needed at that time to be brought forth. A place to be in touch with what is natural for us and to tap deep down into the roots of the wider energy of the rhythms and cycles of the natural world. When we call in the healing, the allowing, the listening, and we do this together, there is such power. I wonder, is this what men feared so much that they burnt us as witches?

For me the Red Tent is a teaching chamber and a healing space.

It exists outside of linear time, and through connection with it I am learning that I can take what she symbolises deep into my own heart. To go there to restore and give what is needed to myself, rather than follow time worn paths of self hurt and judgement when the chips are down. For me the Red Tent is a place to resource ourselves with supportive connections and allow the reflections of the journeys of others to guide and inspire, and to trigger and catalyse fresh insight.

We have always met this way as women; holding the community fire, nourishing the children of flesh and all that we may birth creatively in other ways.

We birth. We bring forth. We carry the capacity to connect, to feel, to create, to destroy and to hold. We cycle with the earth in many different time-line cycles. From maiden to elder, from blood to ovulation, from reflection to expression. In ancient times our spirituality was honoured, and our connection to these cycles recognized by all as a gift that brings forth the wisdom of the sacred into the community. We were given space to retreat and listen. Today we are remembering the value of this together. We come from tribe, and although we must journey to the wilderness inside ourselves to find ourselves, there is also the opportunity to return to community, to share what we find, and to bring it into a broader social context. Although most of us were not initiated as young ones; not taught how to harness oceanic depths and bring forth light and power from our descents into dark places. Together we are allowing the rebirth of these teachings.

I love the dance of the ages; the elder ones and young ones meeting and listening to each other’s stories, energising each other with different qualities of wisdom. For me seeing the laughter, freedom, sensuality and sexual expression of older ones has been so supportive to me; dismantling my inner holding of our culture’s tight tale of no beauty but spring beauty.

For me this is what the Red Tent is about. All women, all faces of Woman meeting together and reseeding that which is healthy, whole and good into our communities and own hearts. Being with our sadnesses and joys, rhythms and cycles, staying close and attentive to all that arises from the deep to guide us on our invisible paths – paths made more visible, tangible, of spirit in the company of friends.

To find out more about my red tent, please contact me. 

red tent painting.jpg



Freya Rose Tanner