Nowadays we all witness women around us that are going through rough patches. As individuals, we are all facing major challenges in our life. It sometime feels like one after another, and you are just praying for a minute to catch your breath. You sometime don’t have time to enjoy the relieve that comes from having overcome a major obstacle in your life. A weight you have been dragging for years is finally lifted off of your shoulders, and taaadaaaa you find a new challenge right there on your path smiling at you: so ready to deal with me now ??
I just finished reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It’s been said that The Red Tent is what the Bible might have been written by God’s daughters, instead of her sons. I don’t know much about the Bible, but I’ll tell how this book has inspired me.
It is a story about sorority. Dinah, daughter of Jacob, is telling the long-lost story of women, because “the chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing”.
In the red tent where women gathered every dark moon were shared the secret of blood, the healing blood of the moon’s birth.
“In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of the blood courses through us, cleansing the body of last month’s death, preparing the body to receive the new month’s life, women give thanks – for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood.”
I am so grateful for the inspiration. This book really touched my heart…Tears rolled down my cheeks several times while reading it, as I was really feeling connected to the hardship and suffering of those women, like it all happened through me as well. So much so that it made me wonder: Are we all women connected ? How can I sometime feel other women suffering in my very bones, be it women from the present or past generation. When a woman open her heart and pour her feelings into the world, I feel like I myself went through it all hand in hand with her.
Reading this book made me also wonder : is life really easier for women at present ? Oh I know that past generation of women have accomplished so much in term of women emancipation to promote their rights and gender equality. As any women I honor their courage and am grateful for the life they offered us. There is still a lot to be accomplished on that front, especially in some countries. But all in all, we can safely say that life conditions for women have improved much over the past decades, especially in the western world.
So I wonder… Why do I often feel longing to go back to ancient times, like at Dinah time in this very book, when women were not always allowed to choose who they wed, spend most of their life working the fields, cooking, and serving the men of the family, not even being allowed to share diner with men ?
I believe that is because being liberated from the ancient ways, we women started living according to the masculine model of individualism.
Indeed, we women stopped living in communities, helping and supporting each others, gathering in the red tent once a month to take care of each other.
I believe that as women we were meant to midwife each other, to ease our pains, share our burdens and wisdom and guide each other toward acceptation and joy. We were meant to gather inside the folds of the red tent to brush each others’ hair, massage each others’ feet, to wait, listen, rest, cry, bleed and belly laugh with one another.
Oh sure, today our burdens might not be as heavy as it were before. But today we carry those burdens mostly alone. Living the masculine way has isolated us from our Sisters.
So I encourage you Sisters to remember the old ways, to reach out to each other. Let go of the belief that asking for help makes you weak (that’s a tough one for me!)
You are not meant to travel this road alone !! So be there for one other. Hold hands. Create safe spaces where you can meet with women of your community. Gather inside the folds of the red tent…
For more on red tents :
ALisa Starkweather – Red Tent Temple Movement
Isadora Leindenfrost film – “Things we don’t talk about”
DeAnna L’am – Red Tent in every neighborhood