Tuesday, 29 January 2008

How to create your own Goddess Party

If you feel you're only functioning from the eyebrows up, get thee to a Goddess Playshop," says goddess.com.au creatrix, Anita Ryan-Revel.

Whether it's a goddess workshop, sacred retreat or women's circle, any event that connects women in a safe space is invaluable for a healthy state of being," she says. "This is by far the most beautiful way to awaken the heart, body and soul."

In fact, such activities are vital to the mental wellbeing of women, according to Leonie Young, CEO of beyondblue: the national depression initiative.

With the erosion of the traditional family structures and the surge in single women and working mothers, such gatherings can replace the traditional support systems a partner and family would normally have provided.

"Women who remain isolated are at greater risk of developing depression," says Leonie. "Meeting other women for fun and enjoyable activities not only boosts motivation, it provides a social environment for them to communicate and problem-solve. Ultimately this leads to an increased sense of belonging, reduced isolation and empowers them to deal with whatever life throws at them."

A survivor of depression herself, Anita developed her Goddess Playshops as one such enjoyable and empowering activity.

"Self-empowerment doesn't have to come through self-help books and dreary seminars. I use lots of easy and fun methods to help women connect with their ultimate source of power - their inner goddess."

Such gatherings allow women of all backgrounds to explore their weaknesses, strengths, psyche and soul.

"Women are enabled to reach spiritual depths and new levels of enlightenment they may not realise exist otherwise. In my Playshops, women remember that they are beautiful and powerful beings capable of achieving great things."

Lyn Volare is a New York-based facilitator of goddess workshops and events that celebrate the Divine Feminine.

"We all have the right to live a happy, empowered, spiritually fulfilling life, so I created events which bring magic back into women's lives. They encourage women to visit that peaceful inner sanctum where they can find the source of their strength and wisdom," she says.

Any woman is eligible to attend a gathering, says Anita. "It doesn't matter what your race, religion or culture is - the energy created by a group of strong, creative and compassionate women creates a new, all-powerful set of guidelines to live by."

Lyn concurs. "I have had all sorts of women attending my events - pouting priestesses, boardroom babes, earth mothers, Amazon women. Every woman should have the opportunity to connect with self and others to create a magical and fulfilling existence for herself."

A gathering doesn't have to focus on spirituality alone, however.

"I have conducted Playshops that are about nail polish, silk, chocolate and glitter," says Anita. "There are hundreds of activities that women can do in a gathering to help them connect with their higher consciousness and inner selves. Whatever they do, it all helps save them from being the Serial Soloist in the workplace or the Alone Ranger at home, and that's a good thing for everyone."

Below are some suggested activities women can do in a group together to celebrate the feminine divine.

Setting Up

Lyn sets the mood of her workshops by creating a lavish space using fabrics in rich vibrant colours, candles, flowers and essential oils.

"When women walk into this space, their jaws drop," she says. "It's like they're entering their very own 'Red Tent'. One woman likened it to re-entering the womb, which I suppose is quite appropriate."

If sumptuous fabrics don't fit the budget, Anita suggests setting the scene with crystal chips, candles and comfortable chairs.

"Aim to transform your ordinary lounge room into a magical space. The coffee table, for example, could be made into an altar using crystals, feathers, wooden statues, flowers, floating candles and a wand - these are all things that can come from nature at little expense. Choose an item from each of the elements to make it significant and special."

Prepare the Space

Even though every woman has gathered for the same purpose, it is important to decide on a set of behavioural ground rules and ensure the group agrees on them.

"I remind participants that they are in a nurturing and safe space. Crying is allowed, as is laughter, but judgemental attitudes are to be left at the door," says Anita. "Guidelines let everyone know what is expected from them, thereby adding to their security."

Once the space has been prepared, Lyn calls in the energies of the goddess with a short prayer and the lighting of altar candles. Sage or rose water is also used to cleanse the space and to uplift the participants.

"I then declare the circle opened," says Lyn, "and the real fun begins."

Meet a Goddess Patron

"As modern life focuses on 'doing' rather than 'being', I like to start off with a guided meditation to settle everyone into their bodies," recommends Anita. "This way the outside world can be left behind while we look inwards for a goddess patron to guide us through the next stage."

To find a goddess patron during a guided meditation (the visualisation in Anita's book, The Goddess Guide to Chakra Vitality is ideal), the hostess should introduce the group to several goddess archetypes and ask the women to listen for a message from each of them.

"Whichever message comes through the strongest should be taken as the goddess patron," says Anita.

"Music or gentle drumming or rattling can be used to deepen the meditative experience," suggest Lyn, "but pace them so they are no longer than 20 minutes."

Affirmation Quest

Once the meditation is finished and people are back in the 'now', Anita suggests developing affirmations to promote a longer-term positive state of mind. Affirmations are precise statements that describe what you want to happen in your life.

"I get my workshop participants to build their affirmations based on the message they heard from their patron goddess. I also do it during a pampering exercise - it becomes a more free-flowing right-brain activity when the mind is being distracted by massaging hands, painting toe-nails or applying henna tattoos."

"Affirmations are powerful tools for changing your traditional attitudes to problems and outlook on life," says Lyn. "They can also be spoken as blessings for others which can be very transformative. But like motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins, warns, a repeated affirmation becomes embedded in the subconscious mind and eventually becomes your reality, so be careful what you wish for!"

Dancing Diva

Since ancient time our ancestors used dance as an expression of God and nature. By dancing they could become the spirit of the sun, moon, animals and plants and be empowered with their attributes.

"Movement is a primal language that doesn't need words or specific rules," says Anita. "It helps clear out the cobwebs, get the blood flowing and tones the body. It can be skilled like ballet, or free-form like rolling in grass or jumping around a lounge-room table. As long as the dancer allows instinct to drive her limbs she is transmitting a message from nature and thereby allowing a connection."

Recent years have seen a resurgence of belly dance in mainstream culture. Lyn introduces belly-dancing in some of her events, but takes it one step further and uses a blindfold.

"A blindfold shuts down the source of distractions and outer stimulation to the brain," she explains. "It gets people back into their bodies without being embarrassed about being watched or judged. It also lets the dancer see inner visions and find hidden meanings to their burning questions."

Mask-Making

To get an ever-lasting reminder of the special energy gained, organise a day-long gathering and create a mask.

"Masks have the power to make things larger than life and transport you into the realm of the archetypes," says Lyn. "The wearer can expand her consciousness and explore new possibilities, taking her out of the square in imagining a new life map."

Masks can be made in papier-mâché, plaster, leather, metal or wood. "Plaster is good because it can be used to fit the face, torso, or even a pregnant belly for posterity!" says Lyn.

"If time is short, decorate a standard plastic mould that you can buy from any craft store," suggests Anita. "Go wild with feathers, sequins, shells, glitter, beads and paint - this way you can feel exquisite when you put it on and travel to amazing places within yourself."


More information:
Anita Ryan-Revel Goddess.com.au

Beyondblue For more information on depression, available treatments and where to get help: beyondblue.org.au

6 comments:

Journey Through Life said...

Thank you for this wonderful information, Mich!!!
Last year I started a bushwalking group through my naturopaths diverse business.
This year I suggested to her a spiritual friendship group of some kind. I have gradually been bringing together ideas on how I would like it to work. I have talked with one of her workers about doing it with working through the chakras as a focus - along with combining other ideas that I have and relating them to each chakra as we go, so that we have a pattern of weekly development and focus.
Would you mind if I incorporated some of the ideas that you have here??
Annie
xxx

Mich said...

Hi Annie

Starting your own circle is a great idea ... please feel free to use anything from Rainbow Dreams as well ...

Here is an old post about starting a circle. http://michellechant.blogspot.com/2007/04/ive-received-some-emails-asking-me-how.html

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

mich

Jane said...

Mich,

What a fantasic blog today!! I would so love to do something like this and I think I have a friend with a few spiritual like-minded friends that may want to try this.

You ROCK!!!

Happy Tuesday...
Jane

kim said...

Oooo! I wish I could find like minded women near me. *sigh* all my buds are so far away!

Bohemian Mom said...

"With the erosion of the traditional family structures and the surge in single women and working mothers, such gatherings can replace the traditional support systems a partner and family would normally have provided."
YES!!!
Ohhh, thank you for this Mich...I am printing it out and making a genuine attempt at finding like-minded soul sisters in my area.
It's so difficult and small-minded around here...Paganism is considered black magic by a lot of people...sheesh!
My closest friends are Catholic, so I can never quite relate to them, and them to me. We get along in a general, "no talking of our spiritual beliefs" way.
I know I would just thrive if I could hook up with some soul-sisters.
Maybe I'll hang up flyers in bookstores or something.
xo

amy said...

Very great ideas thanks for sharing! It reminds me of Succulent Wild Women groups based off the book by SARK. The SWW are more creative but this sounds more healing the two could be combined together maybe!