Welcome to my ongoing (fortnightly-ish) seasonal, circle infused musings. You may wish to grab a cuppa, your pen and journal and cosy up with me for my sharing, reflections, updates, invitations, suggestions and offerings, or you may prefer to have a quick scroll to see the headings, and trust what draws your attention. xx
“The old love for life and nature and the old ways of sharing rather than taking away, of caring for rather than oppressing, and the view of power as responsibility rather than domination did not die out. But, like women and qualities associated with femininity, they were relegated to secondary place.”
- Riane Eisler, The Chalice & The Blade
Hello dear Circlers
It is said that magnolias have existed since the beginning of time; the flowers that belong to Spring representing hope and new beginnings.
As I sit with them in these few short weeks when they are in full flower, I always sense that they are urging us to remember the old ways, and to reclaim the ancient stories that have been excluded, forgotten or buried.
That in the ancientness and their beauty, they are showing us that we can collectively reject the continuation of violence, destruction and domination and take a path that has previously existed.
In the Chalice & The Blade, Riane Eisler takes us take to prehistoric Europe and shares that there is archeological evidence showing that those societies were peaceful, art-loving, revered the Goddess, were equalitarian and matrilineal.
In Femina, Janina Ramirez takes us back to the Middle Ages through the stories of remarkable women. In the book’s Preface, she says:
Women have always made up roughly half the global population. Why then should they not inform the way we perceive the past?…..The very old and the very young are often ignored too. Disabilities are not a modern phenomena, and neither are issues surrounding sexuality and gender. Yet we read so little about these areas in history books…..The Medieval world was fluid, cosmopolitan, mobile and outward-looking. Every major city would have been full of individuals of different skin colours, ages, backgrounds, religions and heritage. Let’s put them back into the history books too.
Through sitting in Circle I have witnessed the significant disconnection from self, body and story that those marginalised by their gender and identities have gone through.
I believe that through the practices of exploring our lineage, connecting with the land we are on, bringing ritual and ceremony into our daily lives, cherishing each other’s stories, working with myth and folktales, learning herstory* and deepening our capacity to hold space for ourselves and others, we can deepen our understanding of ourselves and co-create a new/old narrative going forward.
It is my experience that Circles offer us a container (albeit an imperfect one) in which the stories that will help us create a more equitable future can come to the surface.
We’ll be picking up on these themes over in our Subscriber chat - do come and join us!
*I use the term “herstory” to signify a feminist perspective that includes the role of women in our past, whilst recognising the need for a term that includes all who have been marginalised or forgotten by the history books.
Circle Holder Practice: Reflective Journaling
I have been heard to say (rather dramatically) that journaling saved my life. I believe that it did.
I started my journaling practice when I was about 13 years old after reading The Diary of Anne Frank. It was a vague collection of thoughts and experiences and a search for meaning. It was after the car accident when I was 18 year old, that I started to explore how to write about how I was feeling. And then several years later I came across Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and took up morning pages.
Since then I’ve used many different approaches and ways of journaling each day.
What I’ve come to realise is that journaling was how I learnt to hold space for myself; it’s how I learnt to sit with the feelings that nobody could do anything about; it’s how I got to know the many different aspects of myself and accept them all in that moment.
Journaling is a practice that I have always included in my Circles, and is woven through my Circle Skills course (alongside the invitation to draw or doodle or move your body instead if writing doesn’t work for you).
In the first module of Circle Skills I share a version of my reflective journaling practice that I call “Singing Over the Bones” (borrowed from the story of La Loba as shared by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés). I share 6-open questions to explore the why, what, who and how of your Circles.
Three of those questions are:
Why are you holding your Circles?
What do you and your Circles stand for?
How will folk be altered by attending your Circles?
The invitation is to take your time with the questions and respond to them in as much detail as possible. In this step, you are gathering the bones of your circle work.
(And a gentle reminder not to be deceived by the simplicity of the questions. The magic is in your depth of your responses; keep asking yourself, what’s deeper than that?).
You are then invited to craft a question about the principles, values or roots of your Circles that you don't currently have the answer to. This question becomes a guiding question for your work. It is a question that you can root your work in, that can inform what you choose to create and offer.
And of course, you can have more than one question! My current and ongoing enquiries are:
What does it mean to be a Circle Holder in these (r)evolutionary times?
How can (my) Circles offer spaces of sanctuary and rebellion?
How can (my) Circles offer collective care and be a form of sacred activism?
These are the questions through which I filter decisions and are woven through my courses and immersions.
Circle Resources: Meet the Soul of Your Circle
What if it is our role to be in conversation with our work; to listen and then take inspired action?
I believe that our Circles are a separate entity from us and that they have their own intention and purpose, and therefore we need to be in circle with our Circles!
It is this belief together with my love of guided journeys that led to the creation of “Meet the Soul of Your Circle”.
This is a guided journey into the imaginal realm to connect with your Circle, engage with the world and characters that are presented, receive guidance form your Circle (your own inner wisdom) and bring that back to this world.
This is a powerful practice for getting out of your own way and connecting with your Circle at the deepest level.
You can listen in on Insight Timer, or if you’d like additional additional guidance on how to get the most from your experience, sign up here.
It is a delight to continue our Featured Co-Conspirator series, sharing the incredible folk who are co-creating The Grove.
And this week I am thrilled to introduce you to Katie Carswell.
Katie burst into my world for a one on one session and it was a beautiful and authentic heartfelt connection.
I have had the privilege of sharing a VIP (Vision. Intuition. Practice) Day with her, companioning her as she creates and curates connecting Circle experiences for her community, and journeying with her in The Grove.
Katie has a unique blend of modalities and life lessons. She weaves these together to create safer and sacred spaces in which you can take off the mask, drop into your heart and have a felt experience of connecting to yourself.
By being in this place and held by Katie, you hear the whispers of your inner wisdom, and are supported with helpful and healing practices to deepen that connection and release who you are not, and re-member who you are.
Katie says that at the heart of her work:
…is the power of creating space ~ helping you gift yourself the treasure that is time, so you can reconnect to the wisdom inside of you and remember who you really are.
If you are questioning your past, your present or your future, reach out to Katie, let her put her arm around you and guide you home.
You can find her on Instagram , on Facebook and on her website.
And if you’re interested in joining The Grove you can find out more here and join the interest list. We welcome new Grovers in May.
Before Circles there was baking!
I grew up in my parents restaurant, started working in the business when I was 14 and then holding events when I was 18.
My hospitality hobby was interrupted by my (short) legal career, but when I took my career break I returned to those roots.
I had long been fascinated with food as medicine and I went on to work in organic food stores, study nutritional medicine and started a raw food business.
When River was 6-months old we opened our organic store and café, I passed my Cert IV in Food Coaching, completed my training as a Culinary Nutrition Expert (with honours!) and held food and nutrition workshops.
I learnt so many lessons about how to fill small events from these experiences; these turned out to be immeasurably helpful in filling my Circles and in-person Circle School trainings.
I shared some of those approaches in our Wisdom Session in The Grove last week and we're currently creating an e-book on 50-ways to fill your Circles. I’m also working on a little freebie of 10 Ways to Fill you Circles (that feel good) for you.
Which brings me to cookies.
River and I have Sunday baking sessions and last week we made these delicious vegan, gluten-free salted chocolate-chip cookies. I shared them on Instagram and there were some requests for the recipe, so here it is:
325g gluten-free plain flour (I use Doves)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt flakes
100g dark choc bar chopped up (or vegan choc chips)
130ml olive oil
Make the dry mix: stir together flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate in large bowl
Make the wet mix: in another bowl whisk together the sugar, olive oil and water until it makes a smooth caramelly mixture
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until it forms a sticky dough and then plonk it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Pre-heat oven to 155 degrees C
Once chilled, take big dollops (we just used a tablespoon measure but an ice-cream scoop would work) onto lined baking sheet, push down with your hands and make flat cookie discs. They do spread out so leave a bit of space between them. Sprinkle with more salt flakes if you want to and then bake for 12-mins.
You will smell them when they ready. They will look quite pale and soft but they are ready! Let them cool for a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack.
Ours were devoured in about 20-mins at the skate park BUT if you do have any left over they should store well for a couple of days.
Happy baking! And if you do make these, share on Instagram and tag me!
In last month’s musings I shared a little poll to see if you’d like these letters more often, and the vote is in! The most popular choice was fortnightly so I’m going to experiment with writing every two weeks and see how we go.
If you’re curious about my on-line courses you can find out more here and if you’d like to pick my brains, draw on my experience or explore working with me, you can book a 60-min private session here.
I hope that whatever this season holds for you, you are able to tend to yourself and the communities you are part of with compassion and courage whilst receiving love and support.
With you in Circle in these (r)evolutionary times
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Mitle, I so love your perspective of journaling as holding space for self! Ive been writing on a diary since I was in primary school, going through morning pages and practicing pre paving writing for what I desired in my life. Upon reflection, it’s so true that it is in writing where I had a conversation with myself, that I got in touch with the deeper feelings within me.
I love the questions that you’ve shared from Circle Skills and that they’re singing over the bones - that phrase just lands so deeply in the body!
I also love how you’re exploring questions you don’t have answers to, to guide your circle work. I especially like the third one, collective care and sacred activism.
Some time back when I saw the word activism I felt that I didn’t know how to be an activist. Then I realised that the thing that I’m passionate about is child abuse and child sexual abuse, the fields I’ve worked in. How can I be an activist for that.
Mmm love the offering of these questions / inquiry Mitle - thank you.
And can I just share. My last post was 9 min and I was worried no one would read it wuhahaha then I saw that this js 10 mins and I feel comforted heh heh.
Writing here feels like journaling for me as well, reflecting as I share my lived experiences.