Open Circles are always the last Wednesday of the month, at 7:00 pm. (New Time!)
Merici Lounge, Mother St. James Building, Brescia University College
(Note: this space is most easily accessed by entering Brescia from Sarnia Road).
2013-2014 Open Circles are a collaboration between
The Circle Women's Centre and WomanEarth, The Living Centre.
Offered by: The Circle Women's Centre & WomanEarth: Ecological Being
Facilitators: Lorenna Bousquet-Kacera, Sheila Horrell, Francis Abley
This 5 part Winter-Spring series invites you to explore the sacred nature of creation, our relationship within the Earth Community; how to offer spiritual response to the ecological crisis we collectively face and what we may do to creatively participate in bringing the world back into harmony and beauty.
This series is inspired by the teachings of many eco-spiritual elders and the essays in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth - Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
"You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer." ~ Thich Naht Hanh
February - How Following Your Bliss can Heal the World
This Circle explores what it means to live ones soul purpose and how the unity of the world rests on the pursuit of your passions. How the people and creatures around you are revitalized when you pursue your allurements with the same extravagant devotion of a star to its destiny. What would it mean to know one's ultimate place in the world, what you were born for? In this time of ecological crisis discover how the world becomes fully itself as we inhabit our unique gifts and take our place as evolutionary participants in the great story of life.
"Wisdom teachings worldwide say there's no greater blessing than to live the life of your soul; doing so is the source of your deepest personal fulfillment and of your greatest service to others and Earth. It's the locus of authentic personal power – the power to co-create and enhance life."
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are". - Joseph Campbell
March - Care of the Soul of the World: Eldering the Human Psyche
"We stand at a critical time in history, a time when humanity must choose its future."
Earth Charter, Declaration of Interdependence
The soul of the Earth is the essence of the being some call Gaia. To perceive the soul of the Earth requires what Taoists call 'the way of life', the fact that everything in our world is in relationship to everything else. To care for Earth is to maintain the equilibrium between culture and nature. True elders can hear the Earth whispering her guidance.
This Circle explores what this means in our personal lives and to the larger Earth Community; how to cultivate the elder dimension of our psyches, and how this supports the most extensive and vital Earth care in human history.
"Humanity's most urgent and life-enhancing project is to care for the soul of the world, the anima mundi, which might also be called the soul of the Earth." Bill Plotkin
April - The World of Wonder - Living in the Heart of Gaia
Scientists are telling us that we are in the midst of the sixth extinction period in Earth's history - mostly human caused. This has not occurred since the extinction of the dinosaurs. How do we shift consciousness from one of 'the right to exploit' everything, to one of Wonder and celebration of this sacred world. Where we see Earth as guardian, teacher, healer, the source of human inspiration - the Great Mother - the supremely nourishing principle.
This Circle explores how to enter the heart of Gaia, listen to natural law, and receive from Her the psychic power we humans need to confidently, joyously and compassionately participate in the great Transition we are in the midst of.
"To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe -- to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it -- is a wonder beyond words." ― Joanna Macy
May - The Next Transition - A New Cosmological Story
In the midst of formidable challenges - climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, social inequities, unrestrained militarism - we are being called to the next stage of evolutionary history. The human community has the capacity now to realize our intrinsic unity in the midst of enormous diversity and most especially, our place within this 4.6 billion years of Earth history.
In this Circle we will explore the 'shifts of consciousness' and values that are emerging from the new sciences, giving us a new transformational cosmological story. One which integrates and engages humans in the creation of a world that honors the sacredness of all Life.
As the human species learns to embody love (a cosmological dimension), the entire planet goes through a fundamental transformation because all human presence now permeates all of the species of life. - Brian Swimme, Ph.D. Cosmologist
"The earth was once molten rock and now sings operas." ― Brian Swimme
About Open Circles
"Talking freely about aspects of women's lives and naming them as resources for spiritual strength in community have not been part of patriarchal religion. Feminist communities ecourage truth-telling - naming of the experiences that are real in women's lives. In these settings there are no correct doctrines into which women have to try to fit their experiences and so the truth telling goes on, new ways of describing women's spirituality emerge and new sources for survival and strength are named and incorporated into women's spirituality"
-Charlotte Caron, To Make and Make Again: Feminst Ritual Thealogy, 1993
When The Circle started in 1990, it was decided that the program might include one evening a month women could come together informally to read quietly, to talk with other women, to enjoy a cup of tea in the lounge space. The first small group of women who attended suggested that each evening have a theme. One woman might share an interest, a project, a book or video to twig the personal experience of those present and get them talking. The topics for Open Circle evenings have come from the brainstorming of the women who attend. After a few years, an Open Circle planning group formed and called themselves "Dynamikos" meaning "powerful."
To use Charlotte Caron's words, Open Circles have focused on "naming of the experiences that are real in women's lives," sources that have been traditionally considered improbable dimensions of spirituality. The evenings have included the truth-telling of many individuals sharing their personal stories, profound life-changing experiences, and creative processes. The diverse modes of spiritual expression have included storytelling, drawing, belly dancing, moulding with clay, journaling, meditation, drumming, etc. The hundreds and hundreds of women who have come to Open Circles over the years have taken home new ways of describing and experiencing women's spirituality and new connections with other women.
There have been so many special moments. The joy of sharing rituals to celebrate seasonal and life passages stand out. In addition, these evenings have provided opportunities for women to network and form new circles of support and solidarity. Open Circles have inspired dream groups, menopause groups, book clubs, writing groups, drumming circles, ritual groups ...and these open circle evenings continue to spiral.
**Open Circles take place on the last Wednesday of the month from September - May (excluding December).