What comes to mind when you think of sisterhood?
What does it mean to reweave the tapestry of the sacred sisterhood?
One of our greatest wounds as women, is the wound between us. The unhealed and unacknowledged trauma of centuries worth of oppression that caused a rupture. A wound of comparison, competitiveness, mistrust and lack. It sneaks up on us when we least expect it and it operates in the shadows of many of even our closest friendships.
Growing up with a sister, I know this wound well. The conditioning of 'one upping' each other. The jealousy, the comparison, the feeling of "outshining" or being "outshone." Because our culture breeds an illusion of scarcity, there is a false belief that says there is not enough for all of us. If she shines too bright, she is taking away my light. If she gets paid that much, then I must somehow be losing out. What if my boyfriend or husband thinks she's prettier or smarter than me? These old stories play out in the dark corners of our minds and cause us to fear one another's growth.
This lie of "not enough" has kept many of us from truly connecting as sisters. From going deeper into the healing of our own wounds. For our judgement is only a projection of our own insecurity or lack of self-worth. Because there is enough for all of us. We are all unique and divine. We all have gifts to share and love to enjoy and spaces to shine in. It is our responsibility to own and embody all that we are, including our shadow that prevents us from connecting to our sisters.
When Tati & Farhana approached me about bringing sisterhood to a physical space, I knew it was time. I had been working online or 1:1 with women for years, but yearned for a retreat space where we could truly embody, touch, feel, taste the work. Sisters of the South was birthed and the first retreat was beyond anything we could have imagined. It is simple. When powerful, intentional women come together, away from their daily duties and distractions, magic happens.
Below are some images from our first retreat, for the images speak for themselves. Thank you Casey for capturing these moments in time.
It takes courage to show up in intentional spaces with women. When I attended my first Women's Circle I remember thinking - "this is weird," "I'm a rock 'n roll chick, this woowoo shit is not for me," "I prefer hanging out with the guys" etc... I realise now I was operating from a very masculine place. I felt "safer" with the men because it meant I did not need to feel what my feminine side was screaming out about. My womanhood, my compassionate, gentle, loving side had been abandoned because I had grown up in a culture that made her feel unsafe.
Softness, slowness, gentleness felt gross to me. It felt so far away even the idea of it made me angry because I felt so numb to it. I was a strong woman, I was a rebel, a badass. I survived and I could do it alone. It was only when I finally brought myself to a circle of sisters and cried my heart out that I realised what a badass really was. Vulnerability is true strength, what I had perceived as strength was my protection from going to the places in my body that needed attention. Many of us experience this as a mother wound, a yearning for maternal nurturing that our mothers were not able to give us. Knowing what I know now, I never blame these women. I realise they could not give us something they did not receive, and so that is why the sisterhood exists.
It creates a space for us to receive from a community of women. It spreads the responsibility out to the whole. We realise that every women in the circle has a gift, a story that can feed us. We learn to trust the collective feminine and receive and give to that collective energy. We learn from each other how to be strong and how to be soft. How to forgive our mothers and our sisters who may have hurt us. When we see one another as mirrors, we understand that our masks and our projections were only shields of protection. When we are brave enough to drop the barriers to connection, we allow ourselves to be seen and thus to feel safe.
"Safety is not the absence of threat, but the presence of connection." - Gabor Maté
When we let ourselves be seen, we experience connection and in that connectedness we feel home, we feel safety. We cannot eradicate threat altogether but we can reweave greater connection.
That is the sacred sisterhood, that is the homecoming we, as women, are all seeking.
I had the blessing of having my sister join the retreat with me and we went to some places that we had been needing to go to for a very long time. We got to witness each other in our glory and our shame. Humble and real. This is the work. The healing of generational wounds amongst sisters, amongst women. It takes courage to be seen, and to compassionately listen to one another. When we do so, we realise we really are all one, and that it is together that we will rise. When we transition from scarcity into abundance, we see how much opportunity there is for us to work together, build together, heal together.
My greatest empowerment came through my work with women, healing my feminine side, feeling safe with women, and knowing that my sisters had my back. I honour the deep friendships that I have with women. The mentors. The women who call me in and out, who know my blind spots and who check up on me when I veer off into self-destructive territory. The women who inspire me to reach higher, shine brighter and take no bullshit. This is the dyke archetype, women loving women archetype. This is not sexual, but spiritual. It is intimacy with your friends, your sisters. I did a video on this archetype if you want to learn more and especially if you still find yourself triggered by the word dyke.
Retreat spaces are where this work comes alive for me. Where the feeling of sisterhood becomes real in the body. Here are a few words from our last retreat attendees:
"The most transformative & humbling weekend of embracing the feminine collective, holding space for tears of pain & joy, & releasing energy that no longer serves us. Pure love, unity, depth & connection with woman on a soul level. Annette, Farhana & Tati created the most magical space to share vulnerability & love ourselves in our truest form." - Julia
"What a liberating experience in the most picturesque place, away from the hustle & bustle, which set the tone for a transformational experience of diving deep into raw connection with fellow sisters.
I felt connected like I’ve never felt before & held by all those who attended.
We made life long friendships. We learned heaps, we embodied & experienced what it feels like to be a be a Queen in a safe container of love. Overall, it was a beautiful, holistic retreat I wish all women to experience! The lessons from this retreat will live with me forever! - Thalea
"A whimsical weekend of magic, rituals, fabulous food & the most well thought out Women’s workshops.
Thank you for this experience which has opened so many doors for me in my personal & healing realms.
I am happier, I am prouder, I am softer & I am in touch with my womb & cycles like never before.
The continual connection with the sisters has brought new chapters into my life. This is the gift from this healing experience. Showing up for myself has never felt so good.
I will be back." - Jess
I am in awe of all these Goddesses, and by my co-facilitators who I learn from everyday.
I am in awe of the sisterhood that is reweaving a tapestry of the divine feminine around the world. I am honoured to be a thread in this work. I look forward to the future gatherings.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.