What does 'sitting in circle' mean? And why do we do it?

Earlier this year, when the World felt a little different and face-to-face meetings were a thing [and encouraged!], I was able to sit across the table with an incredibly supportive business mentor who asked me what my ‘Three non-negotiables’ were when it came to how a Yaya Sisterhood workshop is presented.

I answered:

🌻 Sitting in a circle.

🌻 Using a ‘Talking bowl’.

🌻 The ‘sisterhood thread’ game.

The next three blogs will be focused on shining a spotlight on each of these points and sharing why these three ‘non-negotiables’ are so important to the Yaya Sisterhood.

Read ahead for the first instalment:

[ Sitting in Circle ] 

“Once formed, the circle becomes a container for truth telling and sacred witnessing, healing and transformation”

The idea of Women’s circles—intimate gatherings where women discuss goals, concerns, stories, and advice—have been around since prehistory and in many cultures, the circle has been recognised as a sacred space.

The Ceremonial Circle written by Sedonia Cahill and Joshua Halpern, Anethea Francine, a workshop leader and ceremonialist, talks about the significance of the sitting in this form:

“When we sit in a circle it reminds us that the point of reference is the middle, and the middle is both empty and full of everything. Everyone is equidistant from the middle so there is no sense of hierarchy. The point of reference changes as different people speak. It is a different kind of focusing and a different type of awareness about relationship to one another and to the whole when we sit in a circle.”

And, when you sit ‘in circle’ with women, magic transpires.

Gone are the labels of who you are based on what you do or what you have; gathering in circle, you are equal. Specifically focussing on the Yaya Sisterhood; no one is there to know what grades you receive at school, what car your parents drive, how good you are at gymnastics, how large your family home is, how many designer clothes or Apple products you have.

Popularity and ‘cliques’ don’t exist.

And to some girls, this space of equilibrium is received with a big breath of relief.

School classrooms and extracurricular activities [ think dance, martial arts] while incredibly important facets to the development of a young child; they place a large emphasis on rankings / groups / sub-sections and achievements.

This can be overwhelming for young children who might feel as though they will always be ‘boxed in’ to a designated category based on previous experiences or capabilities.

Walking into a Yaya Sisterhood Empowerment Workshop, each young girl is invited to choose a space in circle and encouraged to sink into the awareness that they are of equal importance to those who are sitting amongst them.

Sitting in circle teaches us to respect ourselves and one another; moving through the opening ice-breaker and continuing the workshop and crafts while sitting in this way, allows one another to be and feel SEEN & HEARD.

This small symbolism can be achieved in the home setting too. I have often utilised this tool as a way to have discussions and family meetings with my daughters. As they know that sitting in this way [and utilising the talking bowl – blog on this coming up next!] will mean they’ll each be able to have a turn to share their concerns and sore points.

They especially love it when I have set the space to be like a mini-womens circle; adorned with crystals and oracle cards, a talking bowl and some conversation prompt cards. — [I will share a blog on ”How to set up a sacred circle in your home” soon. Promise! 🙏🏽 ]

Having sat in circle many times as both a facilitator and participant, I have witnessed many a connection, understanding & ‘I am worthy’ magic transpire between all those present. 

The body language, the smiles, the tactile exchanges with one another, the proximity in which they sit next to one another and the openness in holding hands differs between the opening circle and the closing circle activity –  it’s HUGE. So beautiful [and an absolute privilege] to witness.

And that is why sitting in this way, is a Yaya Sisterhood non-negotiable.

💛 Love  Kim Darby x 

—- Next blog I’ll discuss what the talking bowl is; and how we use it during circle sharing time at a Yaya Sisterhood Empowerment Workshop.

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