Circle Spotlight – San Diego, USA

Circle Spotlight – San Diego, Southern California, USA


Ana Couch-Regional Coordinator for So Cal GTW

I was introduced to Gather The Women a few years ago from Sharon G. MijareAnas  Ph.D. (who is now the Regional Coordinator for Gather The Women in Costa Rica).  I jumped at the opportunity to be the Southern California Regional Coordinator. I was wanting to connect with women that were meeting in circles too. Many times in our circle gatherings  we could feel a connection to other women from around the world as if we knew that other women were meeting in circle but didn’t know how to connect with them. GTW  allows us to feel and be a part of that thread of love. It joins us to women that are meeting in circle like we are. It threads us together with other circles and women, Just like the quilt that we participated in making, Some of you may remember creating a piece of the quilt that Gather The Women made last year! I love the idea that we are not just our small little circle from San Diego but that we are part of something  much larger than ourselves.

The first time I was introduced to circle practice was when I was 19 years old (19 years ago). My mother (Chloe Ann), my sister (Rain) and Shauna all attended a women’s circle that was facilitated by Sharon Mijares  (Regional Coordinator for Gather The Women in Costa Rica). Sharon had led our women’s group for many years here in the San Diego area and introduced us to setting sacred space through circle ritual. Sharon ended up moving to Costa Rica after about 15 years of attending her circle. The group dissipated after she left and I felt an empty spot in my heart for circle and its practices. I felt that something was amiss and I longed for that feeling that sits with you when you meet in circle with your sisters. I missed that sacred circle space that is shared with the women there. The voices and stories being told, by other women.  Being heard and listened to with love, by other women. It had been a couple of years or so without having any circle gathering  in my life.

While I was away at a self realization event in 2008,  it came to me and I realized that my purpose and my passion in life is to awaken the potential and inner beauty within myself and ultimately in other women too by shining my own light.  I had a vision of gathering with women and leading the group in sacred space. The only thing I could think of the rest of the trip was getting back home and what it would take to start a circle of women in my own community.  First thing I did was call my sister my mother and another friend  Shauna to ask about their thoughts on starting a circle of our own.  I felt that just because we didn’t have the formal training and background that Sharon did when she led group through guided meditations , that there was no reason to let circle gathering fall out my life. I questioned and doubted whether or not I could do it. There was hesitation at first, but once we all agreed we joined together and created and now guide our Northern San Diego CA group. We asked the closest women in our lives to come and join us for our sacred women’s circle! Other women have held the topic for the night too and we rotate our gifts of insite and knowledge with one another.

We meet in the homes of each of the women and we trade who’s house we hold our meetings in. It’s a very intimate setting and we sit on the floor, sitting on pillows with our circle center aglow! The circle center usually has a combination of stones, candles, scarves, fruit, offerings,  sage so that we can smudge one another to start the group. I think its important to incorporate some type of ritual into circle practice as opposed to just sitting and chatting with girlfriends.  One woman will light the sage and each woman will fan the next with the smoke so as to clear the day away and start our ceremony. We call in the  directions (East, South, West, North, above, below and center)  and all of the gifts that each of those directions bring,  in order to set the space and cast our circle. There is always a topic in discussion for the night and then we will usually do something to integrate the message that we are discussing by having some sort of body movement or chanting, drumming, guided meditation, tree planting, wand making, …all to embody the experience more. We’ve even gone down to the ocean to howl at the full moon!  We always close the circle by thanking and releasing the directions. It is the  casting of our circle and the rituals we perform that allows us to set sacred space and deepen the experience of the circle setting.

Many of us (and some of our husbands) get together outside of our circle practice too. These women have become very close to me. I love and cherish them all and look forward to the many more years of gathering together to honor ourselves and honor the sacred practice of the divine feminine in a circle setting.


 —————————————— ♥ ——————————————

Rain Angelise (Ana’s sister)

RainSitting with women in circle has been such an empowering experience in my life. I am 41 and a wife and mother of three.  I have been attending this type of circle for over 20 years now and I was so blessed to have been invited at such a young age. The first circle was founded by Sharon G. Mijares Ph.D. who is also Gather the Women Regional Coordinator, Costa Rica. That circle met for 15 wonderful years, and I have so many fond memories of that time. We danced as Goddesses, created unique art, chanted ancient words, told stories of our lives, and supported each other.  As time went on the circle grew and shrunk many times but the core members were a constant. Eventually some members moved and the group slowly yet naturally came to an end.

A few years later my sister Anatole Couch, Regional Coordinator for California decided to start a circle back up again and asked for my help. We partnered with a close friend (Shauna) who was interested and each of us invited some of the special women in our lives to join in. We meet every month on the New Moon and sometimes the Full Moon, we burn sage and candles, and invoke the energies of the Universe.  We pass the talking stick as we hold space for each other to share vulnerably in the safety of the circle.  In this soft and compassionate space, I have learned to speak forth and be received by other women.

There is so much competition, jealousy, gossip between women in this world and it hurts us all to view and treat each other that way. I have learned to value and admire the differences in other women, rather than being threatened.  I truly am struck every time at how beautiful each woman in the circle is. I am pretty sure that I have cried tears of gratitude and joy every single circle I have attended, and that is a ton of joyful tears!

I am so blessed to share in this experience with my sister and mother, and one day my little baby girl.


—————————————— ♥ ——————————————

Shauna Artman  

I had made friends on separate occasions with two sisters (Ana and Rain) .We all worked together and bonded naturally. When it came time for us to part ways and travel on to different paths, we decided to use our strong connection to our spirituality as a means to stay in touch with one another.Shauna

We had all previously been connected to a women’s circle that Sharon Mijares had started. We discussed it’s value and benefits and fantasized with creativity to create our own.
And so it is!
8 months into my pregnancy of my 1st and only child, we began to set space . We had just us 3 for a time being. We shared different interest, current studies and gifts. Not much has changed since then,  just now… it includes many more women. We range in numbers of 8-14 women.
We have reiki masters, corporate executives, massage therapist, yoga instructors,  mothers,  daughters, sisters… One thing in common is we are all students,  all leaders , all women connected to our divine goddess.
We meet once a month . We follow the lunar cycle,  either on the new moon but most often full moon.
It’s been and continues to be a beautiful evolution of the soul and heart.
It is a commitment, responsibility and devotional relationship to ourselves and one another .
Namaste .


 —————————————— ♥ ——————————————

Chloe Ann (Ana & Rain’s mother)




I am Chloe Ann and I belong to a wonderful woman’s circle here in Oceanside Calif. I am 65 yrs old and so very thrilled that I have been in circle for twenty years with both of my incredible daughters. My gifts and practices include energetic healing modalities and massage for the last 35 years and counting. I am spiritually sustained in our loving group. Opportunities for growing and sharing are abundant. The circle is our link unbroken to woman around this planet to which I am forever thankful.







—————————————— ♥ ——————————————

My name is Catie Flynn.Catie

GTW San Diego found me in 2010, although I didn’t find my way to attending Circle until 2011.  Funny how life works!  I started attending Circle just before I would experience a significant situation in life that included a transition.

For love, I spend time with my family and friends, in nature, and with myself.  I also volunteer with an organization that is committed to enabling and empowering people in matters of importance to them.

Being a part of GTW San Diego is an important part of my life.  It is a place where I am nourished and enriched, a place to connect with beautiful, like-minded women, a place to contribute and be contributed to.  We span a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and this contributes to the richness of our Circle.



—————————————— ♥ ——————————————

Hello! My name is Misty Wileman (Shauna’s sister).

MistyI’m fortunate to live in beautiful Southern California. My interests are camping, hiking, anything outdoor related. I’m a total bookworm & I always have a book with me. I’m very passionate about animals rights & their well being & I am very involved with this. It’s my calling!


I joined the Goddess Group about 6 years ago. At that point I was very happy with my relationship, friends, family, my animals, travelling and heavily involved with volunteer work but still felt something was missing & knew it was in the Spirituality department. I had none in my life at all.
I knew very little about the group but felt loved & welcomed from the very start. There are so many intelligent, diverse & interesting women in our group. I always leave with peace & knowledge. I have learned so much from these women!

Until settling in to write this, I hadn’t realized how far I have come both spiritually & mentally since joining these beautiful women. I am forever grateful in being a part of this group!


—————————————— ♥ ——————————————


Mast Goebel

I have been part of the GTW circle since last year and from beginning I’ve felt comfortable, accepted and heard. The circle provides a sacred place for me to open up in ways that I can’t in the “real” world – and when I have many times in the past in different situations, I have been stared at like I’m crazy! There have been a couple of circle meetings where I’ve not spoken and just listened. I love to listen to other women’s stories because in each story I find some of my own story being spoken. It’s a realization that we are all interconnected by the same thread that weaves the fabric of life. Its true there is no separation- we are all part of the universal principle which is Oneness. And the greatest force that unites us all is Love! There is a quote that says that there are only two true emotions: Love and a longing for love. I agree. Mast

I have many passions in life. At the top is my most loved and cherished family. My husband Jeff and I have created three extraordinary and very loved boys ages 7, 6, and 3. Each one of them has been a teacher teaching me different lessons in life. I believe we reincarnate into this physical life to finish what we didn’t finish and also to learn the lessons we didn’t learn in our previous lives. The lessons I’ve learned organically from my children are: Patience, mindfulness, unconditional love, gentleness, being grounded, and keeping things simple.  The world is magical, beautiful, and simple through the lens of a child. I am grateful to be reminded of that on a daily basis.

My other passions/pleasures are: Metaphysics, reading, poetry, quotes, affirmations, yoga, meditation, analyzing my dreams, being an intent listener, music, vacations/traveling, exercise and living a healthy lifestyle, not just for myself but also for my family. In addition I love walks, most often by myself because it allows me to tune in and listen to what my emotions are speaking to me. This is just one way that I get to know myself better. There is a beautiful quote that says “knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” I agree.

Lastly, something else that I love and enjoy is rich, delicious desserts, especially dark chocolate. Yum!


—————————————— ♥ ——————————————


Anita Coolidge

AnitaSometimes, just going with the flow…instead of planning…is what brings us to some of the best places in our lives. I am in this women’s circle because, about five years ago, I went with a friend one evening to a bar – which I hardly ever do – and coincidentally met someone else (Chloe Ann)  who doesn’t really do the bar thing either. In our conversation there, we discovered that we both had been students of a energetic healer, inspired by ancient tradition.

My main work is energy healing, breath work. My intention is to help people heal fear and pain, which I’ve been doing for over 25 years. I have also worked with Americans for Department of Peace-building, and absolutely know that with the emerging of the power of women, of the feminine, and men getting past their fear of that power…..and, instead of controlling women, shifting to collaborating with honor and respect…..that this is what will create peace on the planet. As we connect and support each other in the women’s groups around the world, our own vibe will strengthen and will ripple out, creating more love, compassion, and understanding. We are in a time of incredible transformation, not that the feminine will overtake the masculine. The true power will be when masculine and feminine work – and play – together! POWER: Power Of Women Ever Ready. Passion Of Women Ever Right.  😀



—————————————— ♥ ——————————————


Natalie ZiervogelNatiale

I have been part of the San Diego circle since the beginning. This was my first exposure to a group like this and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my good friend Anatole was leading it and I was curious to see what it was about. I’m so glad I did, it’s changed my life and has made me a much stronger and more positive and loving person.

My journey has been a long one. I was very private and guarded in the beginning, but it didn’t take long for me to open up and once I did I realized that everyone in the circle was right there with me, supporting, encouraging and sharing. The group has taught me to be more open and trusting of the universe. I’ve learned to be kinder and more patient with myself and overall more positive in life. It’s also taught me to be more open with my loved ones and the value of a sacred space, both in my heart and in my daily life.

It’s been amazing to share my life (both ups and downs) with women who have shared very similar experiences. The level of trust that I feel is beyond words and I always walk away feeling lighter and brighter.



 —————————————— ♥ ——————————————

 Michelle Miller



My name is Michele Miller. When I moved to California from New York City I had never experienced anything like womens group. I often feel very lonely and different from everyone else. My Goddess Group, as we have come to call it, reminds me that I have worth. My sisters assure me that what I admire in each of them, I can also find in myself. My sisters keep me focused on positive aspects of my life and share tools on how to remain in that space.  My spiritual journey moves forward only because of the support, love, and light these women so willingly show me as we all grow together. As I become more whole I hope to share my experience with confidence and freedom of expression that may encourage others to seek out or begin a group of their own.

← Back to the Circle Spotlight