Circling is a potent and powerful way to find and reach in to others, to participate in and create a strong connection within a tribe. A circle is by nature a safe and sacred environment, activating energies and connecting one back to ones own center.
Sisters joining together to experience circle communities offers a distinctive kind of companioning, where a few or many women agree to connect and co-create in aligned ways. Circling around experience, process, ways of being, philosophy, ideology and/or purpose, like-minded women will connect in order to exchange ideas, co-create, activate and initiate. Modern circles of sisters offer women of all ages a means to experience found family and connect to kindred others.
When I think of the word sisterhood, I think of circles of connected women forged over time. The word sisterhood, like parenthood, brotherhood, neighborhood and childhood bring to the surface my own memories of shared experiences with others and the recognition of the shared experiences of others.
My earliest understanding of sister energy was witnessing the tumultuous relationship my mother had with her sister. They battled, argued and irritated one another. They were fierce sisters, opinionated, stubborn and loving too, with shared memories and interests. They could harmonize when they wanted to, but getting under each other’s skin was the pattern that played out all of their lives.
When I was young I desperatly wanted a sister friend. The idea of a best friend was important. I remember a best friend when I was five, how close we were and the stunned silence when I was rejected by her in grade school. Yearning came into play when seeking sister-friends. As a somewhat shy girl I observed from afar and changed my nature like a chameleon, trying to find my circle. I found sisters between the pages of books and began to realize that sister-friends are hard to come by.
Although I didn’t have a sister, I eventually had sisters. When I became a mother to two girls fourteen months apart, these girls became the sisters to whom I was attuned, witnessing and circling their sister energies. They forged a bond from the very beginning and within a year behaved almost like twins, connected and kindred. It was joy to experience sisters through that lens, I was able to see, share and notice when and how it shifted. Their bond remained true to the earliest connections. Now there is another generation of sisters in the family, 5 and 7 years old, these grand-girls share similar and brand new aspects of sister energy and connection.
A sister of the heart came later in life, understanding myself in a deep and true way seemed to be part of the equation. As I turned to meet myself, I also met a friend who was a twin flame or a sister of the heart. We met as we were both consciously moving away from communications that were problem focused, this shift allowed my relationship with this sister to be based in shared experience and shared vision for personal growth. I discovered that aligned experience and interest, was to be part of my future sister relationships, sister bonds and circles.
Anam Cara means Soul Friend. The poet John O’Donahue shares the root of this expression in his book of the same name. O’Donohue states, “Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition.” Anam Cara is a symbiotic companioning within friendship, birthed originally through monastic friendships. It is to me the poetry of connecting one to another. This is supported by the sense, according to O’Donahue, that within the practice of Celtic spiritual wisdom,“one of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.” This too reflects the expression and visibility, met by witnessing and safety, that is an example of the best of circle experience.
Anam Cara friendships are like mirrors in relationship, not copying or emulating one another but holding a reflective energy that offers being seen for ones true self. To be recognized in sisterhood is a powerful experience, to have Anam Cara is to know how two or more souls begin to flow together. This is the potential that can be also be found in circles of sisters.
Small or large, sisterhood circles will consciously mirror and celebrate positive attributes of tribes that have existed in other ways, other times and throughout human awareness. They also may be modeled on more current experiences and counter balance negative or challenging sister or family experiences. Sisters in circles are often consciously creating aligned and balanced community, with awareness and with purpose. The circles that serve to collaborate, explore and experience something that is missing, lost or disenfranchised in ones singular life, can become living energies that hold all of the qualities of balance, respect and mutual understanding.
Circle sisters in the best of situations will foster agreements, build relationships, offer companioning and express the heart of witnessing and honoring one another. As potential and momentum build within the circle, individuals experience growth within the process. Circle gatherings may support all kinds of ideas and active connections, including areas such as spiritual practice, personal growth, social activism, art-making, book sharing, recovery, parenting and healing practices, to name a few. Within art and consciousness based communities, these kindred connections with others allow us to experience many of these features. I hold and honor these same features of positive, collaborative, close connections happening between kindred souls, circles of any/many peoples, bonds and families created by agreement, they all will offer elements found in the types of connections I have mentioned.
My experiences of these sister-ways offer me countless opportunities to discover more about myself. Creatively, they feed my dreams and relationships as I connect with others in ways that continue to inspire and enrich my life.
Sister experiences are now woven into every aspect of my life and art. Sisterhood reflects shadow stories shared on long dark nights, relationships lost and found, sisters never forgotten despite the passage of time. Sisters are found in virtual forums, in the midst of dreams and by taking the risk to share their stories. I honor and celebrate the circles of women who dance with me through my life, in so many extraordinary and creative ways.
I am grateful to the kindred connections and sisters-in-all-ways that once were only imagined between the pages of a book, and now flow through my life in just this way:
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them [us] in the world.” – L.M. Montgomery
Join me in the circle,