At Sladebank Woods, home of the Red Hearth House
The Moon Daughters is a monthly open circle for 8-11 year old girls. See below for more information.
There are two closed Circles that have grown from Moon Daughters, Wolf Sisters and Storm Sisters for girls from 11 years that also meet here regulary. For more information email or ring Kesty 01453 766519.
“Creating a tribe of women for girls to support them as they blossom into womanhood”
Over the last five years, through Moon Daughters we have re- introduced an ancient way of growing, learning and being together as women. We have created a ‘a new norm’ – *Circles! We are modelling a feminine tribal approach to living and growing together whilst preparing girls for their approaching teenage years.
Our Moon Daughter gatherings involve up to 15 girls each month. We meet on the land, in a yurt at Sladebank Woods. Through our meetings, we show the value of circles, demonstrating that everyone present has a voice even if a girl decides to remain silent. With practice the girls are encouraged to express themselves authentically. We stress the importance of confidentiality to create a safe container within which to share.
Between the ages of 8-11 years, the girls are most receptive to the experience of Circle and the discussions that are introduced. Beyond 11 years (each girl is unique of course!) the girls generally become naturally more independent and can be less open to exploring topics that parents and other adults wish for them.
In a typical session we will sing a song at the beginning which welcomes each girl into the circle. We use a talking stick (covered in ribbons, one for each girl taking part) and share our news, lighting a candle as we go round. We introduce a theme, for example, if the meeting falls on Valentines Day – it might be about Self Love. We will do some movement practice like yoga, connecting in with our hearts and bodies. There is often time to share in twos’ an exercise on the theme, then another circle to share all together. We will anchor this with craft such as making a heart. The girls also spend time in nature together or sometimes they are asked to go to a special spot and invited to be silent. Everything is an invitation. We round the session off with a song and some snacks to share.
Danni, one of the mentors
The Moon Daughter Circles are led by two or three mentor women who meet monthly to plan the sessions. In the summer there is a camp, we live as a tribe, preparing and cooking food together, deepening the friendships and trust of the circle.
Nature features strongly each month, we follow the seasons and cycles of the earth and the moon. The girls positively appreciate the opportunity to slow down and listen more quietly, and experience the wonder and peace of being in nature.
We cover a range of themes, such as: Appreciating myself self-image, body image positive affirmations, menstruation, honest connections with peers, jealousy, gossip, peer pressure. We have also explored the media’s influence on how girls view their bodies, and have discussed puberty body changes. We ask for a £10 donation each month, which is paid termly.
It is hoped that the girls (from eleven years) who have experienced this special circle, will form another circle and stay together through the teenage years. The circle will provide support as the girls witness each other as they grow up. The vision is that the container of the circle will be in place for them to continue to share, and have different experiences as a circle, helping them to strengthen and deepen their trust and friendships with each other until they are adults. There are two closed Circles that have grown from Moon Daughters, Wolf Sisters and Storm Sisters.
To build relationships with the girls in ‘our village’ we invite women in from the community to offer their gifts, like womb massage and singing.
Mums have been encouraged to meet at the same time as the Moon Daughters and that has been worked well at times. The idea is for mums to feel supported by each other, and model this for their daughters. Going through the teenage years can be a very turbulent time for both mother and daughter. For mothers to meet in a confidential circle can be a huge resource and a help in riding the choppy and normal waves of adolescence. Sharing with others can help to strengthen our mothering role
There are five women mentors who meet regularly to support and vision this project. There are two mentors present at each circle. The mentors are Damaris, Danni, Karen Kesty and Judith. See below for some of their profiles.
I am an experienced teacher, woodcraft leader and help at Quaker children’s meetings. I work as a celebrant for naming ceremonies and weddings, etc and also hold rituals and ceremonies for women in particular. My passion for running girls circles started with my own three daughters and has extended to two years worth of Moon Daughters and more recently Moon Sisters here in Stroud. I believe in creating this safe loving space for the women of our future.