What is Red Tent ?
The “Red Tent” is many things to many people. It is a womb-like red fabric space, it is a safe place where women gather, it is an icon, and it is a state of mind—all concepts inspired by Diamant's book, The Red Tent. Some women create red fabric spaces specifically to honor their menstruation. Others create sacred spaces where they can take care of themselves, promote women’s conversations, and/or hold workshops and other events for women.
A sacred space can be defined as a natural or human-made environment where religious or spiritual experiences take place and where rituals are performed. They are also places where one can go to meditate or pray and they may be considered personally special or profound. Susan Hale (Sacred Space, Sacred Sound) said, “a sacred space is temenos, a Greek word meaning an enclosure that makes it possible to enter into a relationship with a greater reality. Entering into sacred space, one crosses a threshold and moves from chronos, human time and space, into kairos, eternal time.”
Through my own observations of Red Tents, it is apparent to me that when women enter, they enter sacred space. While the original function of the biblical Red Tent in Diamant’s book had to do with women gathering following pregnancy and during menstruation, the contemporary practice of creating a separate space is not about ostracism. It is a spiritual practice, a sacred woman’s place, an enjoyable and non-judgmental space, and part of a women’s movement. The book was a tool that helped women reshape their relationships with each other and gave them a specific vehicle for coming together. It is a rebirth to a new tradition which will allow us all to heal individually and generationally.
Red Tent Movement
The “Red Tent Temple” is both a place and a grassroots movement founded by ALisa Starkweather to further expand the notion that a Red Tent Temple can be a place where women gather to honor every stage of womanhood. These spaces are technically Red Tent Temples, but they share many similar functions with other Red Tents. Many participants use the terms 'Red Tent' and 'Red Tent Temple' interchangeably.
DeAnna L'am is another contributor to the Red Tent movement. She founded "Red Tents in Every Neighborhood." For many women the Red Tent is a sacred space, but it does not proclaim any one spiritual or religious practice. It is important to note, however, Starkweather’s Red Tent Temple Movement was established within the Women’s Spirituality movement, so many women who have created Red Tent Temples in their communities have incorporated elements of their goddess or pagan spiritual practices.
Dr. Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost is trained as both a filmmaker, a textile historian, and a feminist folklorist. Her mission is to create multi-media to empower women. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to her educational experiences, Dr. Isadora has owned and operated Soulful Media, her film production company since 2004 and has produced 13 films since she began. Dr. Isadora continues to be inspired by international travel and many of her films have led her to live in and travel in more than 18 countries.
Many women have now taken up the mantle of creating sacred women's spaces across the world. There are many different types of Red Tent being held some more focused on spiritual or religious beliefs, and others are more secular. Red Tent West Michigan welcomes and encourages women of every faith and tradition to join and participate. At the core of this, it is our blood which makes us all sisters.