The Red Tent
I have just finished reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.
To say that I have been touched to the core is an understatement. The Red Tent is a novel about the biblical character Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, in the Book of Genesis. It is beautifully written, detailing the lives of women so many many generations ago.
I was struck by how much we, as women, have endured over so many centuries. We have lived in a patriarchal society for so long. We have been sold by our fathers as brides and slaves, we have been beaten, humiliated, raped, tortured, burned at the stake. We carry all of the wounds of our mothers and grandmothers and our great grandmothers and all the mothers before them in our cells.
We carry it through depression, cancer, PMS, fertility issues, anger and a general disconnection from who we truly are.
We have liberated ourselves through the feminist movement. And we have equality now. And we can do anything that any man can do.
And yet, we are still lost.
Because we have forgotten how to be
It has been beaten out of us.
By the men who no longer know how to be men.
Who carry all the wounds that we do.
We are a society, lost.
The Red Tent was a place where women would gather to menstruate.
In times long past, women would all menstruate at the time of the new moon.
So connected to nature we were.
Women would spend this time together.
Resting, telling stories, massaging each other, embracing the wonderful goddesses that they were.
They would come out of the tent revitalised and refreshed.
There was no such thing as PMS.
We now live in a society of the pill and a never ending treadmill of go go go.
But, we all sense that we there is something more.
We sense that it is time for a change.
For us to embrace ourselves again.
Do you feel the shift?
This book has started a movement.
Red tents are popping up everywhere in the world.
Women are coming together.
Healing from their ancestral wounds.
Celebrating each other.
Creating new legacies for their daughters.
A documentary about this movement is now being made.
Have a look at their website over here.
There is a lot of information and inspiration to be found.
Here is a beautiful clip from the movie to inspire you:
And a part of the book that makes me weep:
"I died but I did not leave them. Benia sat beside me, and I stayed in his eye and in his heart. For weeks and months and years, my face lived in the garden, my scent clung to the sheets. For as long as he lived, I walked with him by day and lay down with him at night.
When his eyes closed for the last time, I thought perhaps I would finally leave the world. But even then, I lingered. Shif-re sang the song I taught her and Kiya moved with my motions. Joseph thought of me when his daughter was born. Gera named her baby Dinah. Re-Mose married and told his wife about the mother who had sent him away so that he would not die by live. Re-Mose's children bore children unto the hundredth generations. Some of them live in the land of my birth and some in the cold and windy places that Werenro described by the light of my mother's fire.
There is no magic to immortality.
Egypt loved the lotus because it never dies. It is the same for people who are loved. Thus can something as insignificant as a name - two syllables, one high, one sweet - summon up the innumerable smiles and tears, sighs and dreams of a human life.
If you sit on the bank of a river, you see only a small part of its surface. And yet, the water before your eyes is proof of unknowable depths. My heart brims with thanks for the kindness you have shown me by sitting on the bank of this river, by visiting the echoes of my name.
Blessings on your eyes and your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you. Wherever you walk, I go with you.
Let us celebrate the goddesses that we are.
Give thanks for all the women before us.
Who have paved the way for us now.
To make a change.
And our daughters and granddaughters.
I hope that something has touched you here.
I know that I feel truly inspired and grateful for who I am and what I can achieve.
Blessings to you.