The sacred sister full moon circles as well as virtual circles that Kristi provides has given me a safe place to share with women who are supportive and kind. I look forward to each circle for grounding, sense of community and to learn a little bit more about myself and the journey I’m on. Kristi provides a unique experience that is deeply powered by love.
It began in early May of 2022.
I was sitting alone around my fire pit, mesmerized by the shape-shifting flames and glowing coals. A warm, vino-infused buzz had settled in (I’ve since quit drinking) when felt a strong urge to call a women’s circle.
So, in that moment I did. Wine in one hand and iPhone in the other, I posted to one of Chicago’s neighborhood Facebook groups inviting women to gather with me around my fire pit on the upcoming full moon.
The response I received from this tiny, low-engagement neighborhood Facebook group – a group that mostly centers around lost pet notices and “did anyone else hear gunshots?!” – blew my mind.
When I sobered up and scrolled through my DMs the next morning, I realized that this circle was happening…and it occurred to me that I hadn’t really thought things through. I mean, how does one even facilitate a women’s circle?
Now, I’d sat (or stood) in many, many circles…many, many years ago. But usually I was a participant. The circles I had facilitated were generally community circles or 12-step recovery circles.
But for whatever reason, I didn’t psyche myself out or take this task too seriously. Something in me intuitively knew how to gather women in circle.
I don’t know if it was a past life thing, a deep remembrance in my bones from the countless sacred circles I’d been a part of, or my deep connection with la que sabe, she who knows. Regardless, it felt familiar enough; I just needed a little guidance on what to include.
So, I did what we do in the 21st century: I googled it.
My first instruction on how to circle women came free, from a google search.
I found a blog post that shared a circling format and borrowed elements from it.
Our first circle was small, which I’ve attributed to that night’s unfavorable weather. But it was powerful.
Something in me shifted that night; I had a deep-seeded knowing that I was meant to do this work.
Ever the student, I immediately enrolled in a Sacred Circle Facilitator training by the Center for Transformational Coaching.
It was here that I learned about equity in sharing. Every circle I’ve facilitated since that training has fostered this powerful and sacred way of sharing.
At this training, I also learned about introducing sacred circling agreements. These go beyond making statements like “What’s said in circle stays in circle”. Rather, they create the bones of a circling container to ensure its integrity and sacredness remain intact. And they are collectively adopted as guidelines for circlers.
And so the women’s full moon circles I’d just started calling became Sacred Sister Full Moon Circles.
I’ve since upgraded; I’ve taken several paid sacred circling trainings, with mixed results.
Shortly after completing my first paid sacred circle facilitation training, I enrolled in a training to become a cacao carrier. If you’ve ever been to a “typical” cacao “ceremony” (I prefer to call them journeys), you’ll note that they are basically circles that are centered around the sacred plant medicine of Mama Cacao. In addition to learning about cacao and how to honor and share her, I received a framework for facilitating sacred circles that had an inward journeying focus.
I then enrolled in a 7-month container offered by SoulWork called “Becoming The Guide”, which dove pretty deep and included trauma-informed facilitation. While this training was overkill for (and not explicitly about) facilitating the kinds of sacred sister circles I was facilitating, it was perfect in terms of my own development as a sacred, trauma-informed guide – a guide who plans to or now does integrate retreats, workshops, and sacred ritual and ceremony into her offerings.
And then in the spring of 2023, I completed The Wild Woman’s Project’s Circle Leader Training. This training didn’t offer the level of depth I was seeking in terms of trauma-informed and equitable facilitation, but that was fine because my primary reasons for enrolling were to (1) fulfill my curiosity on how others were facilitating their circles, and (2) join a growing sisterhood that wasn’t limited to my community. Mission accomplished!
As of December 2023, I’m completing Global Sisterhood’s Circle Initiation training and studying their materials for their advanced sacred circle facilitator training. Though it’s too early to share my experience with their teachings, so far they seem to offer the depth and alignment I’ve been seeking since I started calling circles.
In addition to taking these trainings, I’ve read several books on sacred circle facilitation penned by many well-revered figures in the women’s circling movement (some whose circling dates back to the 20th century).
I share with you the trainings I’ve completed and mention the books I’ve read to help add validity to what I’m about to state:
You can absolutely facilitate sister circles without taking any trainings.
That’s how I started, and despite the fact that I’ve since invested heavily in my own training, I staunchly hold firmly to this belief.
In my opinion, the two most basic skills a circle facilitator needs to possess are (1) the ability to hold space, and (2) the ability to facilitate a group – to keep it functioning as a structured circle rather than a free-for-all social circle. Yes, there are other important skills to have! But these are first and foremost. While you can acquire these skills via a formal circle facilitation training, you can also acquire them elsewhere.
That being said, I’m also an advocate for taking right-for-you trainings because they can help you become a more effective facilitator. Additionally live, cohort-based trainings offer the benefit of fostering community and sisterhood.
So, if you find a training that speaks to you, I encourage you to take it! [And, note that at the end of this post is a short plug for my own low-cost tiny course on facilitating sacred circles.]
Now, let’s explore why you might consider facilitating sacred circles…
Women crave sisterhood and sister circles.
This has become more and more apparent to me as I continue to call sacred sister circles and as turnouts include both a core group of women and new faces.
Women are freaking HUNGRY for nourishing soul connections with other women. We crave sisterhood…like we’re freaking FAMISHED for it.
The humble Sacred Sister Full Moon Circles that I began hosting around my fire pit in May of 2022 offer women about two hours of disconnection from our soul-depleting cultural paradigm. And they offer meaningful community and sacred sisterhood.
I say ‘humble’ because the circle structure I employ is simple and vaguely reminiscent of the circling traditions I’d been a part of more than 20 years ago.
Humble because they’re rarely perfectly executed. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to officially state “Our circle is now open.” And I often feel like I’m rambling as I share my reflection on the circle’s readings.
But none of this ever seems to matter to the sisters who show up.
Most circles involve a few vulnerable tears, expressions of deep gratitude, and blossoming connections with other women…despite how imperfectly I may have guided the grounding and breathing exercise or stumbled over my words or rambled on or whatever.
So here’s what happens at our Sacred Sister Full Moon Circles.
Though I call different types of circles (full moon, new moon, virtual, etc.), my Sacred Sister Full Moon Circles are the most popular. Here’s what happens…
We sit in circle around fire or candles. We introduce ourselves. Maybe we draw an oracle card. We breathe together to get grounded and centered. We cleanse our space in sacred ritual. We take turns reading our circling agreements – agreements that make our circle a sacred container, encouraging of bravery in sharing and in remaining present. We listen to a reading and then take turns sharing our truths in response to a related prompt.
When we share, we each receive equal time to do so. If a sister finishes her sharing early, we continue to sit in silence until her time is up. When a sister’s sharing, we hold space for her; we do not respond to whatever it is that she shares. And when her time’s up, she passes the talking stick to her neighbor. Rinse and repeat.
After everyone has shared, we write down anything we’re ready to let go of…and then we surrender it to the fire. A new addition to this ritual is sacred singing and guitar offered in the background (and with the option for sisters to join in and add percussion). We close with an optional group hug, followed by a little time to connect with each other as the fire burns low and the sky turns black.
That’s it. We don’t have any complicated or rote rituals.
Let’s talk about inclusivity…
Anyone who identifies as a women is welcome, including our trans sisters.
And women of any religious faith (or of none) are welcome, so long as they’re open-minded.
One of the women who DM’d me had questions about the circle structure because she’s a devout Christian…would anything about it conflict with her faith? My detailed response reassured her…
I’ve had members from marginalized communities tell me that they feel safe in these circles, which is pretty evident by how they keep coming back.
Since May 15, 2022, more than 40 women have attended these circles. [Our smallest circle had three sisters and our largest had 14.]
The number of women signing up to receive my emails continues to grow, despite the fact that I stopped offering an incentive long ago. In other words, people want to get notified of our circlign lineup.
Did I tell you that women are freaking STARVING for community like this?!
Make an impact in your community.
If you’re reading this and want to make an impact in your community (including Chicago!), consider calling a sacred sister circle. No one expects perfection from you, and the gratitude you’re bound to receive by the sisters who come will nourish your soul like nothing else. At least that’s been my experience.
If you’re reading this and wish you could attend one of my circles, check out the Upcoming Events page for our rolling four-week lineup of virtual and in-person circles (and any other events I’m offering).
And if you’re reading this and want to train with me on how to lead your own circles, keep reading til the end.
Finally, if you want to stay in the know about circling opportunities, join my email list. The next best way is to join The Sisterhood Project (Chicago) Facebook Group. Or, you could do both.
And if facilitating sacred sister circles speaks to…
I’ve created a low-cost on-demand tiny course on facilitating sacred circles.
It’s short and concise. You can watch all of the videos in under an hour. And, it includes my own actual examples and templates for structuring sacred sister circles.
It’s intended for sisters who want:
- The essentials of sacred circle facilitation in a centralized location.
- A short, on-demand course rather than a drawn-out live program.
- A budget-friendly alternative to live or lengthy on-demand tranings.
- Ways to introduce more equity and safety into their circles.
Click here to learn more. I also offer single 1:1 mentoring sessions if you’d like my help with anything circle-related.
That is all.🌙