Sacred Activism at XR London

It has been a powerful, moving, humbling and inspiring experience, this week, to be a part of the sacred drumming prayer ceremonies that have been held at Marble Arch, in the centre of the Extinction Rebellion protest, and supporting the XRebels in their action.

I strongly believe our work as spirit workers includes joining those in the efforts to protect our Mother Earth and hold these sacred space to connect with and involve and speak to and listen to the spirits, and open this space for people to ground, and maintain their connection with the sacred and their purpose for being there.  

As I have a strong following online, I was pleased to use that to mobilise large groups of us to gather and drum and I am so grateful to all those who shared the message out to your drumming communities to get us together.

We gathered first of all, on Easter Sunday, in large numbers and raised a huge amount of energy, sending strength to all those in the movement and shared our prayers for climate justice and the protection Mother Earth. We gathered again, on Wednesday to hold a further prayer drumming circle to honour the spirits that have held this protest, and to send that loving message out widely to create the change that is needed. Others, joined the front lines at Waterloo Bridge to sing to and honour the waters, and the road blocks at Marble Arch to support those getting arrested for this cause.

Throughout this, I remember and honour those who have camped out for days, some on tarmac roads, some in trees, to maintain this action in London. Those who have been prepared to be arrested and who have been arrested, with all the personal stress and mental strain that that takes.

Further still, I remember that others have been on the front lines of this for many years, around the world, where rights to protest are not respected as they are here. Many earth activists around the world have been killed fighting for their cause, and they should all be honoured and remembered as part of this fight.

We are in a privileged position where we are safe to protest, and should be proud that we use that power to create change and join the fight that people around the world have been fighting for a long time. I honour all the earth protectors, these true peaceful warriors, fighting for our Mother Earth and our future.

There has long been a discussion about the place for sacred activism, and I truly believe we have our place with this cause. Let us come together in our communities to hold ceremonies to honour the land in our area, and join with our local XR communities to see what we can bring to the actions that are taking place.   

Green Man Circles - The Three Candles

One simple practice that we have, in our Canterbury and Folkestone Circles, is the lighting of three candles. This idea was told to me in a men’s circle that was held at a summer festival, a few years back, and it has been something that we have introduced and continue in our monthly homegroups and our other gatherings.

The Green Man Circles are spiritual spaces for men to connect with one another and with something greater, and among other elements that we bring into these groups, one simple practice to connect with this something greater is with the Three Candles. The men who attend our circles, come from all different backgrounds, and so there isn’t a focus on only one spiritual path, but there is an aim to work with different forms of spirituality, whether that be through prayer, meditation or ceremony.

The Three Candles is our remembering that the work we do has a greater implication than just for those present in the space, but also in releasing the ties of wounding from our ancestors, and in its rippling out to other men alive today and and impacting all those men in the future who inherit what we pass on to them. This simple practice is something that we use to open our groups to remind us and focus on what we are doing in this space and why.

FOR THE MEN WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE 
The first candle is lit is for all of the men that have gone before. It is to honour and acknowledge all of the male ancestors who have something to share with us and from whom we can learn. That may be those in some distant golden era when men had more of a healthy relationship with their inner masculine and feminine, before hierarchy and war and misogyny came in to distort and damage these balances and relationships and there was greater equality between the sexes. That may be those men that have gone before that have been wounded by these patriarchal constructs who instead give an example of how not to be, and whose journey of healing we very much continue in the work that we are doing by holding the Green Man Circles.

FOR THE MEN THAT ARE
The second candle is lit for all the men that are alive now. This includes all those who are actively on a journey of growth and looking to transcend these stereotypes that have been handed to them, as well as all those men who are yet to begin that journey. We hope that with these groups that whatever understanding, healing, or connection that is felt by those within the groups may ripple out to be felt by all the men that are on this journey, and that we may all walk each other forward in this work.

FOR THE MEN YET TO BE
The third candle is lit for all the men that are yet to be, and lit with the hope that the world that we pass onto them will be ever freer of the wounds and binds that we inherit. We hope that the work that we do within the Green Man Circles, and beyond, goes towards nurturing a healthy and balanced expression of masculinity, and that the future generations of men can inherit this healthier, more balanced model.

The simple practice of lighting these three candles helps give the circle its place in the grander scheme of things, and help us remember its greater purpose and meaning.

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The Time for Green Man Circles

As many will see, a growing part of my work now involves creating and holding spaces for men, and so I wanted one of my first posts to be introducing the Green Man Circles and explain a little about what they are and what they are for.

Out of the feminist movement, there has grown an awareness that men now need their own movement to transcend and overcome traditional rigid gender roles that also harm men. The Green Man Circles look to provide a space for sharing, connecting, crafting, learning, and nurturing positive masculinity, and look to foster a sense of brotherhood amongst men. These spaces allow us to consciously explore our place in the world and to look at ways we can look to repair and heal the fractures we have in our relationships with ourselves, with one another and within society as a whole.

The Green Man Circles are inspired by the women’s Red Tent Temple Movement, which came into being following the 1997 novel The Red Tent by Anna Diamant . The Red Tents have their historical roots in the menstrual huts of traditional communities, where they were often a place for restricting and controlling women, but have been reclaimed into a modern, empowering space where women come together in sisterhood to support and share a sacred space with one another.

For men to be part of this greater movement to make society a better, we began the Green Man Circles a couple of years ago in Kent, to create a space for men to come together in brotherhood and support this big shift in society that we are looking for. As well as these groups in Folkestone and Canterbury, we are now seeing groups starting in Renfrew, Scotland, and others in areas such as Newcastle, Plymouth, Glastonbury and more, also seeing that now is time for the Green Man Circles.

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Just as the Red Tents aim to provide a safe space for women, the Green Man Circles provide a space where it is safe to lower masks and barriers, explore more of ourselves and gives men a chance to be among other men in non-competitive, non-threatening environments, and instead sharing support, encouragement and brotherhood. These Green Man Circles usually take place at someone’s home, or on a rotation basis, or can be at a local community hall.

Aims and Values of the Green Man Circles.

We really do see this as a movement that will grow and develop, but where we have started, we have found the following to be our central aims of the group.

  • To create spaces for men to share meaningful conversation and feel safe being open and vulnerable with one another, and having those to turn to in difficult times.  To do this, we always have a “check in” at each meeting, where everyone gets a space to speak without interruption, and knowing that everything that they say is kept in confidence. We have found this helps us to voice feelings that they otherwise have no space to voice in our every day lives.

  • It is also a space to challenge toxic masculinity, explore social issues, and reflect on ways in which the rigid gender roles and social expectations are actually harming us. We can also then discuss changes we can look to make in our lives and relationships to transcend these stereotypes, and share skills in how to do this.

  • These groups are open all men, from puberty onward, are LGBT inclusive and open to all racial and religious backgrounds.

  • And a key aim is that these groups are to create a sacred space for men to acknowledge and explore their spirituality, in terms of connecting with their personal sense of purpose and acknowledging what gives them meaning in life. We do this by including ritual and ceremony and meditation in our sessions, and by acknowledging that there is something transcendent that connects us all as men, and so helps us understand how we can improve our connection with ourselves and effect positive change in societies and in the world.

What to do if you want to start your own Green Man Circle

It has been great to speak to and be contacted by many around the country looking to start a Green Man Circle for their local community of men. To help, we have created an info pack sharing few resources and information about what we do in our Green Man Circles in Kent, and includes some ideas of  things to do with the groups. It really does feel like time for the Green Man Circles, and we look forward to seeing them grow and evolve and develop.

If you are looking to bring men together, and share the values above, then be part of this growing movement. Contact me