The Red Tent is Not For Sale
Albeit you can buy one and set it up in your back yard, but what I mean to say is no one can sell you empowerment. That sisters, comes from within. My intention is not to call out anyone else for their practices; everyone has a right to do as they feel in this world. What is most important for me to convey here, to all womyn considering starting a Red Tent, raising their own power or the collective power of divine feminine, that they do not need ever pay for enlightenment or certification to do so. There are two simple things I tell womyn they need to do to run a Red Tent. 1) Gather the womyn. 2) Honor the womyn. And hanging some sensual red fabric around the room never hurts.
Over five years ago I set-up my first Red Tent, it was not in the tradition of any collective, as I did not know at the time any other womyn were doing the same. I had finally decided to manifest a lifelong dream, to create space for womyn to empower with their sexuality. I took the dream on the road and set-up my tent at Pagan festivals and womyn’s gatherings. The mission; teach workshops about sexuality and reproductive health, sell toys and books and hold space womyn could gather in. I was planning to call this space, The Cat House, And then I read, The Red Tent. This shifted the paradigm for me, I was exploring sacred sexuality, I understood empowering with the divine feminine and I had held space for womyn before…but I had not truly embraced the power of my moon times and that book sent me down a path that showed me how. In a fit of manic creative madness, my inner voice said, call your space “The Red Tent.” And so it came to be. I bought some red tarps and that spring raised my Red Tent around the Mid-Atlantic region.
After a few years, I met someone who drew my attention to the Red Tent phenomena. Before that discussion I was completely unaware that there were other womyn holding Red Tents all over the country and in other parts of the world. So when I got home, I immediately googled to see what these other womyn were doing. I was amazed and filled with euphoric bliss. A big YES! filled my heart. In my spirituality it has always been the collective consciousness moments that reaffirm my life goals, it is truly my way of knowing I am on the path and to keep moving forward, that there is a Goddess, she lives within. She calls us to awaken. She is the collective mind and shall re-emerge when we light up our hearts aligned to each other. We have power and we can make change in the world as womyn with it. A big resounding YES! I was so very honored to have naturally found myself within this movement.
Shortly after this discovery, with my own struggles of self-worth, I started to ponder and compare what I was doing with what other womyn holding “Red Tents” had figured out. My space was slightly different in a few ways; I did not hold space monthly in a house, I travelled around, I set up an actual Red Tent, I emphasized womyn’s sexuality and I sold product out of my tent. I contemplated many thoughts; was selling product in the tent somehow sacrilegious? Was my inclusivity of trans folks and men to my space, besides “womyn only events” somehow less sacred? Had I excluded the maidens who needed sacred space too by focusing on womyn’s sexuality? I decided that I should trust my instincts and not judge myself so hard. Everything I did was for womyn’s empowerment and that the divine feminine was and is always held at the core of my work. I also reaffirmed that sacred sexuality is very important and necessary to the Red Tent collective and womyn’s empowerment. I decided to reach out to some of the other womyn that were emerging as leaders of The Red Tent collective. This is when I learned that there are women charging large fees to grant Priestess empowerment or certification to run a Red Tent through their programs. I started to feel the privilege of how this movement was being steered by these few leaders in the community and how that was harmful to the collective of womyn that would be made to think they needed to pay someone in order to run a womyn’s space or even feel powerful enough to do so, a sour feeling gripped my soul.
What monetary value can anyone place on their own power that wouldn’t undermine their ability to achieve it? The very fact that a womyn is made to believe that she has to pay for her power undermines what it is to truly be empowered. This creates a dynamic of power over instead of power from within and the very concept of The Red Tent becomes distorted. When women have to pay such large sums of money to feel sacred, does not that exclude the womyn that cannot afford the luxury of becoming empowered? So the questions I would ask womyn to consider before deciding if their monetary access to power is the right decision for them is this: How do those that would gain from your financial offerings make themselves accountable to the community? Do they give any services for free to under privileged womyn? Do they offer services and skills that they acquired through schooling as healers or counselors? Do they donate funds to any organizations that assist womyn in need? I also hope you hold me accountable for the very fact that I wrote this article as I try to achieve a yes to each question I pose for you. I do not take money for holding space, yet I do sell product in my tent and I spend a good amount of my time teaching and holding space in privileged environments, that many womyn cannot afford to attend, but I do balance that by offering womyn’s space outside of festivals and always for free, I have never gained any money from setting up my space ever. We can all strive to help each other and support each other, and that has always been my greatest reward for holding womyn’s space, no financial gain could ever compare.
The Red Tent is not for sale, it is truly free and it does not even have to be called a Red Tent to be powerful and necessary. Sacred space for womyn is as easy as gathering your friends together to speak your truths, to support, respect and love each other, to listen to each other’s stories and laugh and cry. It can be anything you imagine or desire. So I encourage you to not wait around until you can afford to become empowered or certified, call your sisters together today and celebrate being womyn, it is good medicine.