Local spiritual circles are the very foundation of our spiritual communities and it’s important that we make them healthy, loving, and life enhancing for each member.
Begin at the Beginning
Each circle begins with an idea that’s defined, then drawn forth from the ethers through supportive action into physical reality, and finally set free to grow into whatever will be its most beautiful manifestation.
Before you invite others into your circle vision, clarify what you’re looking for.
► Do you want to be part of an open circle that welcomes newcomers or guests whenever they find you?
► Do you want to be part of a closed circle that is available to members only?
► Do you want to be part of a circle that’s open to newcomers and guests by invitation?
► Do you want to be part of a circle that’s primarily focused on celebration, deep personal work, or a mix?
Find your potential Circlemates.
If you’re starting from scratch rather than emerging from an existing group, talk to friends, post notices in bookstores, coffee houses, local papers, social networking sites, etc. Let folks know what you want to create and how to contact you.
It’s a gift if a new circle begins with experienced leaders, healers, and teachers among the founding members and it’s just fine if that’s not how it is. These skills will develop as the circle grows. Embrace the gift of experiencing synchronicity firsthand by beginning where you are, acting on what you already know, staying open to inspiration, and trusting that all necessary skills will appear as they’re needed. The foundation of every circle is one person with a vision and one other person who wants to play in a compatible way.
Set a date.
As potential Circlemates make themselves known, set a date for a Meet and Greet gathering. This is a time for those who are interested in beginning a new circle to come together and speak about their visions, their own spiritual paths, and how they’re willing to play in a circle. This is when each person gets to see if compatibility lives among those who’ve gathered.
A major consideration during the formation of a new circle is the unruly nature of our dynamic spiritual selves. We are not beings who like being told what to do. We are beings who like to grow, play, celebrate, enjoy life, expand our consciousness, and live in balance. This initial meeting is a great time to begin working as a circle that honors the individuality of each member. One way to do this is to use a talking stick during the discussion to insure that each person’s voice is heard and their perspective is included.
Some important points of conversation during your Meet and Greet are topics that reveal the values of all present and help shape the circle. Some topics to consider:
► Will there be designated leadership positions or will all Circlemates share equal responsibility for leadership?
► Will gatherings be led by one person or by two or more?
► Are your practices during circle gatherings to come from one spiritual path or from a combination of paths?
► Are you women and men together or one gender?
► Will your work together have a primary focus or will the circle journey wherever inspiration leads you?
► Do you want sacred space that’s free of alcohol and drugs or do you want these included?
► Are children welcome or is this circle for adults only?
► Are you open to new members or is the present group complete?
► Who among you are committed to making sure the circle continues, and for how long?
If you all decide to play together, begin weaving your circle’s energy by deciding together when and where you’ll meet again and who will lead that gathering.
Weave the hearts of a circle together.
This occurs through repeated experiences of shared love, respect, and honoring of each member.
Our hearts join together readily through having fun together; experiencing the profound effect of spiritual presence; sharing creativity; celebrating each other; and experiences that support individual healing, growth, and authentic being. Sacred activities such as rituals, ceremonies, healing circles, talking circles, and teaching circles are tools we can use to create these experiences.
The individuals who have come together matter tremendously; it’s your combined flavor that makes your work as a circle unique and effective. Sacred activities that include personal attention to each Circlemate are a wonderful way to love and honor each other, to experience the oneness of all beings, and to get everyone grounded in knowing that each is a sacred facet of the whole, each has an impact on all the others, and each one matters.
Personal attention and honoring can be as simple and light as passing a blessing from one to another, taking a moment for direct eye contact with each person, or passing a loving touch around the circle. They can be as intense or complex as a healing circle or rites of passage such as eldering rites, blessing way, puberty rites, etc.
Create rich, fulfilling gatherings.
Great circle gatherings require trust, openness to new experiences, and attentive leadership. What matters most is that you’re working for the highest good and that each Circlemate feels honored, inspired, and fulfilled in whatever part they play.
Circlemates need to arrive ready to focus all of their attention on the sacred activity, ready to follow whoever is leading, and ready to add their own flavor to whatever is going on.
Leaders need to arrive with an intention for the gathering, a plan for how the group will unite their energies and bring the intention alive, the flexibility to let go of the exact plan and follow the energy generated by the circle, and a plan for how to draw the circle to conclusion when the work is complete. They need to lead from a place of inspiration, service to the circle, respect and love for each individual present, and celebration of whatever each person adds to the gathering.
A spiritual gathering has succeeded when body, mind, emotions, and soul are all united and each person stands for a time in the awesome place of complete connection with Spirit.