Sister Spirit Tribe
By Loba & Kiva Rose
We can hear the river singing below our cabins as we hug our new intern, thanking her for the help that made it possible for us to find this time to write. She and the other women who come here each add a new depth of story to this place. We are in many ways as intimate as blood relatives — supporting, inspiring and sometimes provoking each other to new depths of purpose and caring.
Our lives are all richer when we have special people to learn from, to be open and emotional with, or to share and work towards a common goal. And when those relationships are honest and healthy, even the most financially impoverished of us can prosper. We can find that among sweethearts who are filled in ways making it hard for them to remember to eat, in service associations and clubs, among friends who are always there for each other through thick and thin... in that special binding together of women that we call Sister Spirit Tribe.
Tribe: A group of people united by time and place, needs and goals, essential values or a shared spiritual practice.
Sisterhood: The gift of our actively and intimately reaching out to one
another, simultaneously serving both the authentic self and the health of the
There are often from 4 to 12 gals in this river canyon, providing each other with camaraderie as well as support, instigating important insight and growth. We treasure our personal association, the lush and wild river canyon where we live and learn, and our shared work. We justifiably have expectations or standards for each other, helping everyone stay present and honest, which is what makes us more than just acquaintances or allies. We are open and vulnerable with each other, trust and value each person’s heart, and enjoy pursuing a concerted group mission: restoring and rewilding this amazing river canyon, hearing what the land has to tell us, and passing on those insights through events and writings to all the guests and readers we can.
Besides those of us living here at any given moment, we also feel a connection to the spirits of all the other women across time and space, a tribe with roots grounded in the ancient past, its branches extending out to every existing community. We are connected not only to each other, but to living Gaia and all her creatures and to a long lineage of place holders and dreamers, maidens and wise women and crones dating back to the very beginnings of humankind.
We may no longer share a common cave, but we still share a common planet — and a common, impassioned dream. We are united not just by the sensitivities of our gender, but by our quest for healing and awakening.
Even those of us not blessed with having other women on our land or in our homes, are members of an association founded in love for Mother Earth and every child and creation of nature, honoring life and the commitment to inspiring the greatest possible integrity in all our relations. We sense each other’s spirits even from afar, in Sister Spirit Tribe: A primal weaving of purposeful women’s hearts on a mission of personal and global wholeness.
Women from across the world are consciously interwoven, manifesting art and beauty through all-women bands and dance troupes, poetry and women’s groups. Magazines and publications like SageWoman and We’Moon, created by sisters living and working closely together as well as at a distance through the mail, provide forums for solitary women to join others in the sacred circles of healing and prayer.
The two of us have nurtured this vision more tangibly in the years since we started leading group events and workshops. We facilitate for three days to a week camping next to the water at the foot of intensely powerful cliffs, co-creating sacred space, giving each other and the land our loving attention, listening to each others’ most powerful stories and songs. For the women we keep in touch with for years afterward, these gatherings are a microcosm of the way we wish the world could always be, and the ways we wish we could always be as well — sharing everything together in a place of awesome beauty, and learning about ourselves and each other in the process.
We all have obligations and it can be difficult to commit the time to attend a gathering, but there are ways we can cultivate that same sense of Sister Spirit Tribe, the sharing of our hearts, our goals and commitments to that living Earth of which we are each a sensual and responsible part. The following are but a few suggestions, as important for men coming together as women:
1. Fully own our power to create a sacred space at every available
opportunity. With our selves, with the earth, and with each other.
Ways to create that space in-clude stopping the normal shallow chatter and checking in on each other’s feelings, fears and hopes. Tending fires, baking breads, and stirring pots of soup. Dressing up ourselves and our surroundings together. Sojourning to a wild place in nature, and creating personalized and meaningful ceremony. Coming together in the powerful rituals of the sweat lodge, in all our intensity, tears and laughter. Being there for each other, challenging one another to go ever deeper.
2. Share purposeful prayers and goals.
What do we really have in common? Let’s find out! We need to talk about what our common hopes, dreams, and challenges are so we can give each other support in living our dreams. If we have opportunities to get together, we should make time to address these things, and figure out what we can do to help birth our visions, and practically make our dreams come true.
3. Challenge ourselves, challenge each other!
We’ll always encounter obstacles that seem insurmountable at the time. We can help each other see where there are cracks in the imprisoning walls, ways we can shapeshift our realities with each other’s help. Finances, children, disinterested partners? We must not let anything get in the way, and where there’s sufficient will, there’s a way!
4. Honor and serve the land together.
The voice of Spirit is heard best through the land, and women’s land-based communities are cropping up all over the place! Become affiliated with one, start your own, or commit to prayer and service together at a special spot in your local park or on a dead-end road. Create altars, songs and dances inspired by the spirits and beings of these particular places. We can find out about native and invader species in our bio-regions, and by spending a little time every day actively healing the earth, we contribute to our own healing as well.
5. Honor each other as teachers.
What are we learning from each other? We can honor those lessons and gifts, by remembering them and putting them into visible practice. We need to give our sisters the credit they deserve for all their efforts or accomplishments, for every way they have served as an example or inspired us. And we must be sure to tell them so!
6. Be an inspiration to each other in every way we can.
Make the time to get to know every aspect of our selves, and to love and be true to that self. To be with Nature, and receive her knowledge through our focused presence.
7. Never take each other for granted.
Show as much appreciation of each other as we possibly can at all times, even if it means getting up an hour early to make it happen. Especially when a sister has gone out of her way to make time to serve our process in some way in the midst of her own busy life.
8. Communicate our hurts, and be equally willing to apologize and forgive.
It only weakens our family, tribe and relationships, if we keep things bottled up or swept under the rug. Sisters must be able to be honest about what offends them, to admit where they have gone wrong and make efforts to right those wrongs, and for any wronged party to acknowledge these efforts and make the effort to forgive.
9. Share the work as well as the play.
Instead of thinking we’re too busy to gather with our sisters, we can invite them over to help out with mundane tasks. We’ll have a lot more fun and probably get a lot more accomplished if we do our chores together! If mothers have children who make focusing on things like sewing or home repairs difficult, they can come together and take turns getting things done and giving the kids attention!
10. Resist the urge to compete, or to compare.
Bodies, jobs, boyfriends, partners, children — we have a bad habit of endlessly sizing up each other and figuring we are the lesser or greater in any given situation. Our work is to help our sisters love their bodies and their worthy selves, to discern what is valuable in their lives and learn to treat those people and things well.
11. Bring the Tribe together.
We need to own our power to make new connections happen — by doing outreach for each other’s skills and projects, sharing creative projects, developing internet communities, organizing events, and creating special women’s time and space
12. Help the other gender.
Our self-knowledge and developing tribe is a blessing to more than just one gender. It is important to aid each other’s ability to relate to and assist the husbands, fathers and sons in their lives. For women to support the men in having their own meaningful associations, and for the men to support women in binding together.
I know we can feel the Sister Spirit Tribe while writing this, purposeful hearts
weaving, reaching out to each other to join hands across the lands and across
the seas. In our most challenging of times we hear our sister’s voices as we
hear the spirits of the ancestors who inhabit this sacred canyon. They whisper
in our ears, reminding us to bend down low to the ground, to notice the glowing
stone and the magnificence of the spider, to slow down and thank the first flame
as the two of us light our woodstove fire. They join in this dance of deep
feeling, whole being and creative doing... enriching our existence, while
emboldening the work of love and connection.
Kiva Rose & Loba co-direct The Animá Learning Center & Women’s Sanctuary, an enchanted Southwest river canyon where they host retreats, counsel, quests, internships and special events like the upcoming Sister Spirit Weekend, Sept. 27-30. Loba and Kiva are both SageWoman columnists and Anima presenters, and Kiva also offers an empowering Medicine Woman correspondence course. P.O. Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830, www.animacenter.org
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