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.
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