The role of women’s circles

Following discussions and questions asked, I would like to address the interest in women’s circles today. I base my reflection on my personal and professional experience, on the teachings I have received and on exchanges with my colleagues and friends, men and women.

Since 2008, I have had the joy of participating in women’s circles led by Fawzia Al Rawi, Sufi teacher, woman, mother, Iraqi-Austrian, who teaches and guides mainly Western women. And for more than twenty years, I have accompanied women of all ages and origins, individually and in groups. I do not exclude men, but it is women who come. And I came to understand the benefits and importance of women’s circles in the current period.

Without female models

Women’s circles are flourishing all over the West and yet this seems to go against the trends of diversity and the desire to live together. I have felt and heard among some men, a sense of exclusion and misunderstanding of the proposals reserved for women. There are also women who oppose it, often because they have had bad professional experiences in women’s teams.

Indeed, we are going through a period of great change; roles are changing, women are leaving homes, doing major studies and taking on positions of responsibility. But these women grew up in a patriarchal society and did not always have a female role model in the professional world. Often, they had to fight for the job, to prove that they were better than men, and thus adopt a competitive attitude that can turn into dictatorship and tyranny. It quickly becomes a nightmare for the team, especially for women who do not recognize themselves in the mirror of the female leader.

Going back to what a woman is

We see by the state of our world, managed in recent decades mainly by men, that they can lead the ship of humanity right into the wall. Fawzia Al Rawi sometimes refers the image of the boat to the man and the compass to the woman. One without the other, we are lost! She also says that the man holds more knowledge and the woman more wisdom, adding that knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. We are indeed witnessing it!

So, one might think that the solution is to put women in a leadership position, but that does not turn out to be the answer as long as women adopt the attitudes of men in power, sometimes accentuating them. We must therefore return to what a woman is, value the roles of women, question ourselves about our particularities, our qualities, our skills and abilities. We must do it individually, of course, but above all we need models, mirrors, support, benevolence, links. Because these links form our fabric and illustrate what we intuitively know: that we are all connected.

Connected to the wisdom of unity

The women’s circles I propose, and in which I participate, contribute to this. They offer spaces where beauty, kindness, complicity, support, sincerity and creativity reign, all necessary elements for our innate qualities to emerge and allow our wounds to be healed and our hearts to be soothed.

Each woman is a mirror for the other, and connected to our knowledge of unity, we naturally offer the necessary support so that individually and collectively we rise, not to take the place of the man, but to contribute to a general elevation of consciousness, linked to the wisdom of unity.

Circle vs. hierarchy

For, more than men, we need this context of the circle, without hierarchy, in which each one can take her place, without fear of losing her place nor of taking somebody else’s place.  In a circular and fluid symbiosis, our fears calm down and we let our specific qualities appear, which the world needs. Mind and ego, the personality conditioned and limited by our fears, intervene only very little, leaving room for the love necessary to heal the wounds of women, our own and those of our women’s lineages.

In my opinion, women’s circles therefore contribute to a gentle inner transformation that will, I hope, enable women and men to live together in peace and to build a better world together.

I wish for every woman to taste it!

Annika Skattum

SEE THE CALENDAR OF WORKSHOPS AND RETREATS