After a few years of chaos and uncertainty, it’s unsurprising that many people are turning to spiritual practices to find answers. From gratitude therapy to manifesting, many of us are finding a deeper sense of meaning in self-care practices. One big trend that’s currently on the rise? Women’s circles.
The buzzy wellness term first cropped up on our radar back in 2019, when Jennifer Aniston told The New York Times that she takes part in the tradition to mark nearly every major life event – including her weddings to Brad Pitt and Justin Theroux.
Speaking about her 50th birthday celebrations, the Friends actress revealed that she’d rounded up her pals and flew them out to attend a so-called ‘goddess circle’ in Mexico, as a way to celebrate the next chapter of her life.
Since then, the hashtag #womencircle has clocked up an impressive 3.7 million views on TikTok, as the women-only gatherings become more mainstream.
What Exactly Is A Women’s Circle?
Also known as moon lodges and goddess circles, a women’s circle is an inclusive, safe space for people who identify as women to come together and share their experiences, reconnect with their feminine energy and talk about life’s challenges without judgement.
Typically, attendees gather together in a circle around an altar of intricate crystal layouts, flowers and healing candles. The practice is usually opened by one individual who sets an intention for the evening, and as well as sharing communal food and non-alcoholic drinks, women’s circles often involve pulling tarot cards, burning cleansing herbs, meditating, intention-setting and group singing.
Every circle is unique in its format, but there will often be therapeutic rituals to take part in, like writing down and releasing experiences you’d like to let go of. The group then takes turns reading out their entries to each other, before burning them as a way to let go of negative energy.
What Are The Benefits?
Circles usually take place around the full moon, as many mystics believe that the female menstrual cycle is tethered to the moon’s movements – and the circle is a chance to slow down and recharge.
As well as being an opportunity for women to honour their natural menstrual cycles, proponents believe that it’s an opportunity for women to recognise their feminine power and let go of traumatic experiences and limiting beliefs.
The idea of women’s circles isn’t anything new, the practice of gathering around in a circle to share stories dates back to the dawn of man, when people would gather around campfires to pass down wisdom. Modern-day sessions are just as community-focussed; they’re a way for women to meet new friends and connect with others in real life.
How To Host A Women’s Circle
Before hosting your first circle, modern mystics say that it’s important you choose a host that makes the space feel safe for women to gather, where they can relax and feel comfortable to hold space.
Next you’ll need to pick a theme. It could be based on seasonal events like winter solstice or full moon; or it could be a moment that’s significant for the women in the circle, such as an anniversary of friendship, an anticipation of marriage or a pregnancy.
“Once you’ve visualised how your circle will look, it’s time to think about how you’ll make it happen,” says Anoushka Florence, founder of The Goddess Space and author of The Women’s Circle: How to Gather with Meaning, Intention and Purpose. “Think about what kinds of decorations you might need to create your space, whether you have enough mats and cushions to make the space cosy and what else you’ll need to gather.”
Props are important too. “You’ll want to have a ritual basket that contains essential tools for the circle,” she continues. “Mine includes a ritual cloth on which to build an altar, cleansing tools (like herbs, wood and resins), candles and matches and crystals.
“I like to keep a mother candle in my basket – this is typically a pillar candle I bring to every ceremony,” Florence adds. “I light this candle first, and then any other tea lights or smaller candles from it. I like to think of the mother candle as the light that holds us, transforms us and contains us during our gatherings.
Healing crystals are central to any altar, Florence says. “Crystals are the allies I weave in from the earth itself. [They] hold such powerful energy and have the capacity to bring so much healing, magic and support to your women’s circle. Gather the crystals that will aid and support the intention behind your circle, for crystals have the power to hold, expand and amplify the essence of your space in their very vibration.”
The format of women’s circles varies, but you could invite women in the group to share readings, sing together, meditate or take part in some gentle yoga movement. There’s usually also a moment for women to write down their challenges and limiting beliefs, before reading them aloud and burning them in a healing ritual.
If you’re interested in women’s circles, goddessfoundation.org.uk is a helpful resource for finding local circles in the UK – as well as guidance for setting one up yourself.
Rather than being a sap on your energy, women’s circles are designed to be a therapeutic way to recharge and reconnect in a social setting, without the burnout – and inevitable hangover – of a boozy Friday night pub session. Whether you’re spiritually inclined or not, that’s a concept we can probably all get on board with.