Hali Karla’s blog post on October 8 has been on my mind ever since I read it on GTW’s Facebook page. It is what Heather Plett calls “open-hearted writing”. If you didn’t catch it as it flowed through the Facebook River, you will be rewarded if you go back and find it. Her website is http://www.halikarla.com.
Each week, I let my subconscious ponder what I will write for the Gather the Women blog. Scrolling through the GTW Facebook page, the images of the vibrant scarves in a spoked circle around the altar at our Terra Sancta gathering kept coming up. The idea of creating a beautiful elaborate center was new to me until I became part of Gather the Women. It wasn’t until I was with GTW that I got used to the idea of calling the center of a circle an “altar”.
When I went to Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea’s circle practice retreat in July 2004, they were advocating a simple center with “an object that represents you for the center of the circle”. At our circle gatherings here, we have a candle and a rose or something simple like that. We’ve been missing out. Elaborate is gorgeous.
Hali writes in her blog, “Our voices matter. Our stories matter. Our pain and healing matter. Our connection with Spirit matters, however it looks. Every part of your story and experience belongs to you; it is your right – don’t let anyone try to take that away from you. I write that because I sense that some of you may need to read it, like I needed to feel it.” I needed to read that.
What if I created an altar for myself? Which pieces of my life would be represented there? Would it be healing to have everything out there? If “our pain and healing matter”, would I be wallowing in it? Raised Catholic, long since fallen away, I know about altars and the “body and blood of Christ”. And guilt. My collections of women’s art and women figures give me joy, but they do not constitute an altar. I do have a room of my own. I will create an altar, Hali Karla, with deep gratitude to you.
Clare Peterson, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is in the photo in the upper right corner. She was one of the original GTW founders. It is for Clare that we always have a yellow rose in the center of our annual gatherings. The two luminous centers are from Deborah Zaher’s Liverpool circles.