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Fall Greetings from the Gather the Women Global Matrix.

It’s hard to believe that we are already deep into Fall. Upon the time of our last letter to you many of us were putting away our boots and coats in preparation for the summer. Now we are finding ways to warm ourselves again.

The Gather the Women community has enjoyed many blessings over the past few months. Numerous women from cities around the world have joined us as Regional Coordinators giving voice and connection to more women than ever. In August, we hosted our annual summer gathering of Regional Coordinators in Racine, WI. Because we meet virtually all year, our annual summer gathering is such a gift to get to know each other on a more personal level. Next year's Regional Coordinators gathering is happening in Toronto on July 19th through the 22nd. We hope you will consider joining us if you live in the area.

Speaking of gatherings…Fall is one of the times when many regional Gather the Women circle events take place around the world. To find a circle gathering near you, make sure to visit our Facebook page where they are being posted by women just like YOU.

As always, if you can’t find one near you, we encourage you to create one yourself! We have a special resource available to you to help you do just that! Read on to find out more about that and other inspirational stories to light your feminine fire.


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Sierra J. Sullivan

Convener & Mistress of Communications

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Water Ritual

By Barbara Belknap, Matrix Convener
Regional Coordinator, Juneau, Alaska

water ritual in racine

Since our August GTW gathering in Racine, Wisconsin, I have been thinking about the value of ritual. From the very early days of Gather the Women, water has been used as a symbol for continuity. Each time we have our annual gathering, there is a water ceremony.

Women bring water from home and pour it into a bowl on the altar that anchors our circle. They say a few brief words about where the water comes from. Some women have water from the very first GTW water ceremony.

When the gathering ends, each woman takes water out of the bowl to take home with them and says a few words about how they are feeling. At our 2011 gathering, the water ritual took on even more meaning. After each of us had filled our small bottles with the Racine water, we drove to the shore of Lake Michigan with the remainder of the water.

As darkness fell over our circle, Jean Reddemann led us in a ceremony to bless the water, then she handed the large bowl to me. She and I led our circle of women to the water. Jean was so close to me that I could feel her warmth. She said a few words, and I poured the water into that enormous lake as the waves lapped against us. It was dark by then and the darkness hid the tears in my eyes. They were tears of gratitude, fullness, and deep emotion.

Ritual matters. It provides a depth and resonance that stays in our heart.

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This Fall- Join a Circle Near YOU.


Millionth Circle

October marks one of two times per year that we invite our greater Gather the Women community to create a regional circle so that many circles happen around the same time and theme. The intention for this goes along with "The millionth circle" principle which refers to the circle whose formation tips the scales and shifts planetary consciousness. The phrase comes from Jean Shinoda Bolen's book The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and The World, which in turn was inspired by "the hundredth monkey," and inspired by this very organization!

This year’s invitation for a theme is the same theme we celebrated for our Racine Regional Coordinator gathering:Women Lighting the World.

To find gatherings near you, make sure to visit our Facebook page. If you are hosting a gathering, make sure to let us know by posting yours.

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Savoring the Gathering
By Diane Jung and Mary Cunningham
Matrix Conveners &
Regional Coordinators

Upon reflecting on the Gathering held in Racine, Wisconsin this August, the one word that keeps surfacing is “savoring” and this all began with our opening circle when each of us shared our thoughts on “who we are and what we are bringing to the Gathering.” One of the presenters Holly Whitcomb asked us to consider the four aspects of Savoring:

1) Live in the present moment

2) Slow Down

3) Hold on to your precious memories – those that feed your soul, and

4) Cherish and protect.

We focused on experiencing all those aspects in those three days at the DeKoven Center. Once we moved away from the external world, entered those beautiful grounds and sat in the Buddha gardens, we were able to really be present – and to live in the moment.

We also experienced “holy moments” when led by a Native shaman woman to the shores of Lake Michigan and as a group, we blessed the waters that we had brought from our respective homes and then added these waters to the lake. The Water Ceremony reminded us all that as all water is from One Water, we are all connected as Sisters throughout the world.

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We danced, we laughed, we shared our stories, we listened to one another and we were not afraid to let our tears fall either. We had lots of time to have fun in circle and away from circle. We put on our long party skirts and danced to Middle Eastern music feeling so “alive!”

I am so grateful for those women who presented at the gathering this year—for I learned valuable lessons from each.

Each day at the Gathering held its own surprises and we all welcomed them. In doing that, we grew to know and understand one another and also knew what it meant to be in “circle.”

Another highlight of the Gathering was to see the women participate in blessing each other with the Tibetan scarves – again, a moving tribute to each woman’s spirit and our roles as Light Workers in the world today. I think that after we experienced this, we came away with more of an understanding and appreciation of who we really are—beautiful spirits ready to light up our world!

Save the Date for next year's Regional Coordinator gathering in Toronto, Canada happening July 19-22, 2012.


Creating a Circle

by Donna Ahlstrand
North Bay Regional Coordinator

I knew I wanted to start a women’s circle in 2010. After attending a couple of circles in women’s homes and two larger gatherings of the local Gather the Women North Bay group and then participating in GTW’s annual four-day retreat, I realized this form of being together as women was calling to me. I retired from my job at a nonprofit agency in April 2010 and was looking for things to do, places to go, people to meet. My interests were varied and slowly becoming more spiritual.

After thinking about starting a circle way more than I really needed to, I decided to just go for it. I sent out an email to 30 local women I knew pretty well from classes, work, support groups, and friendships. These were people I could think of immediately who I’d want to share life, emotions, stories, and spirit with.

You're invited

In the email I gave them the particulars of a first meeting and my vision about circles in general. I wanted to gather 8 to 12 women for ongoing support and learning. The agenda of the first meeting was to discuss and reach consensus on what we’d like to do together, what we’d like our topics of conversation to be. Perhaps we would want to do a specific project or read and discuss a particular book. We might want to talk about our varied life issues and the challenges we face as women, or focus on something of interest to any one of us like raising children, working, encouraging each other in hobbies, interests, artistic endeavors. We might celebrate each other’s milestones! The list is endless… (Start a community garden? Support a school or nonprofit?).

I also mentioned the three principles of circle: rotating leadership, sharing responsibility, and relying on Spirit (whatever that means to you). The three practices of a circle were also listed: speaking with intention, listening with attention, and self-monitoring our impact and contributions.



Want to start your own circle?

Gather the Women has the perfect tool for you!

seeding circles

Gather the Women has developed the engaging “Seeding Circles” DVD to help you bring women together to experience listening and sharing in meaningful conversation. All proceeds from our DVD sales go directly toward helping us grow and help more women like you feel connected and empowered.

Learn more and purchase a DVD today !

Recommended Books:
Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture by Christina Baldwin
The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and the World
by Jean Shinoda Bolen
Wisdom Circles: A Guide to Self-Discovery and Community Building in Small Groups by Cindy Spring and Charles Garfield

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