I settle into my subtle body, right here in this moment, to re-member the eclipse’s transmission. Wild, fearless, all parts illuminated, bright-eyed, confused, quiet, held back. Wondering. As the moon quickly approached the edge of the sun’s glare with her curves, earthlings sat in amazement. It happened so quickly, yet the effects are still reverberating weeks later.
The moon’s feminine mystique made us all experience awe and wonder. The Earth was shadowed by these two Divine Solar Bodies, leaving us, Her children, in absolute awe for what we were beholding: The Divine Father Sun and Mother Moon making love in the sky. The sun felt steady as the moon danced her way over to give the sun a bold, slow and long kiss. For that minute or two in time, the moon was given her one opportunity in years to have the attention she deserves. A phenomenon, to watch the light drop and the stars come out, the crickets chirp, the nightbirds fly by, the sunset relax, all allowing for the moon to have her dance across the sun’s lips. And what was the first song that came on once the eclipse was becoming partial again? “Here comes the sun”. I felt Shakti rage rise up from my core, was in complete shock and still am that we as a culture continuously express gratitude for the sun more than we do for the moon. A quick example that is old but still deeply rooted: Sunday (the day of the week named for the sun) is the dominant culture’s day of rest, the holy day. Monday (named for the moon) is our day back to work, many people’s least favorite day of the week.
As Divine Feminine Consciousness rises in these times, we are experiencing a massive shift in the balancing of our Masculine and Feminine Earth (and personal) energies. For many, especially the Priestesses who have collaborated to write this article, the eclipse was a significant marker in shifting perceptions of sexual embodiment and cleansing the collective karma of the global masculine and feminine.
This article is the collective story of our Blood Priestesses, our Red Tent Holders, our Sacred Sexuality Promotors. Each and every one of us was present, some in the conscious festival scene, some facilitating ceremony for our community, and some in solitary fasting and prayer. The intention for this piece is to offer a collective transmission from these Wombyn servicing our society in the Arts and Mysteries of Blood and Feminine Sexuality.
— Priestess Anna and Priestess Camitza/Jessica
“For me blood is, in a way, the first frontier and the last frontier. Blood was my entry point into sexual healing. It was the gateway to establishing a relationship with the part of my body I had most vacated and experienced the most shame and trauma around. The dissociation, shame, and trauma around Yonis/Vaginas is common place, almost expected, in our culture. A loving, honoring, sacred relationship with the blood that pours from them is still taboo and radical, even as a significantly numbered subculture is waking up to this remembrance”– Priestess Monica
Even at conscious festivals, there are deep roots needing to be established.
“I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to set up Red Tent bleeding spaces at festivals and gatherings around the country. They are always powerful, educational, and healing for those who enter. However, I can’t help but feel that something is missing every time. We attempt, as much as we’re able with our resources, to create a space where women can easily and hygienically offer their blood back to the Earth and cleanse/change their menstrual products. However, I feel that it requires the resources, care, and energy of the festival or gathering to really bring that space into its fullest, most embodied form.
Many festivals like the idea of having a Red Tent, (it is a buzzword right now, in a way). However in my experience, not many events are willing to go out of their way to help create a space that is actually supportive to a bleeding woman in the modern festival scene. To have a space that is truly supportive of a mooning woman at a festival, electricity and running water are necessities.
It’s not relaxing to lay in a tent in the scalding summer sun, with no fans or airflow. It’s incredibly challenging to change a tampon in a port-a-potty, much less empty and cleanse a menstrual cup or sponge without running water. I feel it’s totally necessary that more festivals start making grounded change to recognize the power of the mooning woman – the mystic, the keeper of time, the channel. Festival organizers must first honor the bleeding woman and value the necessity of a safe space for bleeding at their events. Once this is established, collaborators who have the drive and background in this area can actualize the creation of menstrual sanctuaries that are sacred, inclusive, rejuvenating, and practical”. — Priestess Laura
Laura Carmody, when not traveling with the festival Red Tent, serves as Priestess of the Red Tent at the Goddess Temple of Ashland.
“Most of the Red Tents I’ve been a part of raising have been with the support of men, or at least one very devoted man. Each Red Tent has held a space of reverence for what it is to be woman-human-animal, of what it is to bleed. They have had reverence for the shed, the channel, for rest, for prayer, for offering. Red tents are continually being raised at gatherings, at sisters’ homes, and in the forest. Yet still this support and reverence is not engrained, not yet fully remembered, even in our ever-growing subculture of consciousness rising. It appears that if not either I or one of my close sisters stands up to construct a Red Tent at these major transformational festivals (most notably here Beloved Festival and Oregon Eclipse Festival), they do not happen. And even when we attempt to gain support by applying to build these spaces, the requests are not valued and the space is not created, leaving a huge population of attendees to be participating in the festival without being able to be in dignity with their natural bodily functions, much less able to fully give reverence to the sacredness of what is occurring.
The Oregon Eclipse Festival had a Womb Ship and a Sun Temple. It had Erotic Ecstatic Dance. Yet, unless I missed something, except for one menstruation workshop in the Village Witch area, the only places and times where blood was addressed were in the guerrilla offerings from myself and the woman behind the rogue Red Tent, Ixchel Aradia. It was a tent based on practicality. Because, hey, about half the population from the age of 12-50 bleeds once a month. Someone finally decided to acknowledge that. The festival did not officially endorse such a space (though we did apply to create one, sent numerous emails regarding our application, and never heard any response). Ixchel Aradia along with a few sisters bravely created one because it is NECESSARY. Think about how many women were bleeding at the festival, and how disproportionate that number is to the amount of support offered to women to bleed in a healthy way, with dignity and reverence. Blood calls us simultaneously to our humanness and our sacredness”. — Priestess Monica
Pictured Above: The Red Tent at Oregon Eclipse Festival, created by Ixchel Aradia and some other sisters. This space was created for a festival of 50,000 people, which itself did not provide a bleeding sanctuary.
“A couple of weeks ago, I sat and listened to a Mayan elder speak at the Oregon Eclipse Festival. He spoke of Father Sun and how He disappeared for a few minutes as the eclipse reached totality, and then came back again, shining brilliant light over us all. He spoke of his grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and great-great grandfathers, the ancient timekeepers of his people. He spoke of the eclipse and how because of this alignment, the solar energies are now in each of us and we must all be living Messengers of the Sun. He didn’t mention the role of the moon, not even once. Each word he spoke fueled a fire inside of me to burn even brighter, the Dark Moon Goddess within me screaming for her rightfully earned honor, let alone mere acknowledgment. Don’t get me wrong – I fully respect my elders, my divine masculine brothers, and the Sun.
Yes, I am a messenger of Father Sun, but I am also a messenger of Grandmother Moon: the great Goddess. This Kali fire inside of me burns because she is too often overlooked, forgotten, or brushed aside. She lives in the shadows, waiting for us to warmly welcome her back into our hearts.
My grandmothers, great grandmothers, and great-great grandmothers were the timekeepers: physical vessels of the moon, She who moves the tides and constructs our calendars. As the moon flows through her phases every twenty-eight days, so does the womb, shedding and cleansing for the collective with each dark phase. This alchemical process happening in most women’s bodies every single month righteously deserves to be nurtured in a sacred way.
My heart aches for the neglect of the Goddess. Still, I have hope, kindled by tears of amazement in the moments of totality. During those full two minutes, the Sun illuminated the Dark Moon: She who usually remains unseen, unheard, and unspoken of. This marked a moment of Divine Masculine support and reverence of the Dark Goddess. In the moments of totality, I prayed for unity and balance on a universal scale”. — Priestess Zuri
“When will we as a collective start giving the moon the reverence and space she deserves? We are always in a safety net, the womb of the Great Mother. We can never escape it, it is the water in which we swim through this life. We needn’t avoid our shadows. I don’t even like saying the moon illuminates our ‘shadows’, because that assumes that which is feminine is the parts of us which need to be shone on with the brightness of the sun, as if these parts of ourselves are evil. New language must be born. Feminine rising means we are all parts of ourselves. We are that which receives life force, and that which purges a couple weeks later (typically) through our Sacred Healing Blood. We are all of it, and it’s all the spiral of life.
Connecting this philosophy to practicality, I can offer an example from my own life. One of my biggest ‘shadows’ that has been illuminated through the eclipse is self worth. Narcissism can stem from low self-esteem. What would happen if we gave ourselves the full worthiness that we innately are? The full privilege to use our birthright of sovereignty? Ironically, instead of slipping into narcissism as one may think, the spirit relaxes into unity consciousness, the truth that we are all one and all equally valid, important, beautiful, etc. We truly are everything we seek which is ‘outside’ of ourselves because we are that which is outside of ourself. I am that which I am attracted to. I am that person, that love, that openness. I am that compassion, that wholeness, that confidence. I am wanted. I want myself, desperately. I am a part of Life, I AM Life, therefore I am wanted. The Goddess wants me because I am Her”. — Priestess Anna
“I envision a world where a Red Tent Temple sits in every festival, gathering, and community; where women go to honor their wombs, the goddess within, and the moon. I envision a world where men honor every need of a woman and hold the container as she bleeds each month, taking care of whatever needs to be done in society so that the womb has proper time to rest, vision, dream, release, heal, and recharge. I envision a world where moon blood is seen as sacred, powerful, and beautiful by all. I envision a world where women are honored for the alchemical magic their womb spaces hold, and for their deep emotions as creative healing powers. I envision a world where men can cry and be authentic with their true emotions, allowing their hearts to be fully opened (the patriarchy is poison for everyone, not just women). I envision a world where my grandchildren walk hand in hand with all of humanity, bare feet on the mother’s healthy earth skin, singing to the stars, soaking in the sun, and gazing at the moon, fully honoring the sacredness of all life. The vision is so clear in my dreams, but when I open my eyes and look around me, I see there is still much work to be done.
How is it possible to live in a society where the goddess is fully respected and her blood is honored as sacred, when huge transformational gatherings like Oregon Eclipse Festival fail to even have a Red Tent space for women to comfortably bleed? Having a red tent space at a 50,000 person conscious festival built to celebrate and honor the cosmic elements would have been a huge stepping stone for the goddess movement, women’s rights, and divine union of the feminine and masculine on a global scale. Though I am disappointed, I leave the festival not feeling defeated, but feeling inspired by this passionate fire that burns within. Because of this experience, I am even more devoted to spreading the word of the goddess, nourishing the empowerment of my fellow sisters by gathering in circles to honor the moon that lives within our wombs. Soon, the Red Tent will be seen as a valued attribute to every transformational festival, and eventually in every community. The path is already paved, we just need to keep stepping forward. The Goddess may be forgotten, but she will never be defeated. She continues to rise as her song loudly echoes in the voices of my sisters who continue to do this work”. — Priestess Zuri
“I have just newly entered the festival scene of the U.S. Though I have been serving as a Priestess for some time, this year I felt inspired to embark upon the journey of bringing Sacred Sexuality (and Blood Mystery) to the festival scenes. Along with Monica Rhea and Laura Carmody, I co-created applications to host such a space at both Beloved Festival and Oregon Eclipse Festival. Both applications, for whatever reasons, were denied. The lesson for me was not judgement, but a call to awareness that this work is not widely understood as a necessity.
Red Tents, for me, are more than just places where women can go while they are bleeding and ‘take a rest’. On the contrary, they are spaces of Feminine Empowerment in areas that encompass all of Wombyn.
We share learning in Sacred Sexuality, we offer burning rituals of release, we share story, we recharge in a sacred container, we bleed freely on the Earth, we commune and counsel, we offer education and ceremony….all of these things we do. But that’s not ALL….
We also offer free contraceptives & contraceptive knowledge, are support for sexually challenging & abuse situations (common at festivals, actually), are suppliers of menstrual technologies & herbal treatments for basic infections & vaginal problems, and offer counsel & education for staying healthy in our sexuality.
But the essence is this: we EMPOWER the women to guide, through their own walk, the Planetary Healing that is being called for. So, in a time such as powerful as this, we have seen the Mother Moon and Father Sun make love in the Sky. We now see hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires blazing on our Mother Earth. What is She calling for? I ask myself this. And what comes is that we are in a powerful time when the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine are being asked to MEET upon common soil, shed the shame and strife of history, and become one. All for the Planetary Healing of our Mother and our Existence as her Children.
I send a call to women around our planet: Rise and we shall meet these coming times. Through the continuation of Empowerment AND Embodiment, we women have a key role to play in this process. It begins with each and every one of us. And I see this process encompassing our festivals, our communities, and our homes. Where there is a Red Tent, we find a marker of Divine Feminine Presence. I see this as a necessary tool for the coming times and this article was inspired by a humble process of realizing that we are still in a process of making this happen”. — Priestess Camitza/Jessica
A big THANK YOU to all brothers and sisters waking up to the sun and moon’s equal romance. Jai ma!
If you’d like to get in touch with the women doing Red Tent / Goddess work in Mexico by the name Ixchel Aradia, you can find them on Facebook through that name or email firstname.lastname@example.org