If you know me at all, you know that I’m a big believer in the magic that occurs at the intersection of sisterhood and creativity.
I’ve seen it time and time again. When we women come together to work with our hands, we remember the wisdom of our great great grandmothers. As we step into a space of creative sisterhood, judgemental insecurity melts away and is replaced with delight, wonder, and connection.
Creating together in sisterhood is an ancient practice.
The women in our lineage would commune together during their major events in their lives (their moon time, births, sickness, mourning death) as a sacred act of sisterhood. The would weave, dye fabrics, ferment foods, share home cooked meals at night and dreams in the morning, all together as a community. They would share the simple pleasures of a life lived in balance and harmony with nature.
Think about how powerful those creative women’s circles were.
When women give their full presence and intention towards creating something together, the emotional and spiritual impact of that moment is so powerful and is carried on in what is created.
A couple of times a year, I host in-person creative sisterhood workshops. I gather a group of creatively curious women ready to put away technology for a day, get out of their heads and into the joy of playing with their hands again. It’s amazing what happens during those days, and to see the women walk away with deeper connections to each other and the inspiration to bring more meaning and artistry back into their lives.
I wanted to share one of my most popular creative practices I’ve done with the women at one of these workshops, because it’s so beautiful and impactful and I’d love for you to try it out in your own circle of girlfriends.
Hushed Flower Petal Mandalas
A mandala is an spiritual symbol used in several ancient traditions, often meant to represent the expansiveness of the universe and the self. The creation of a mandala is used as a spiritual guidance tool to calm your mind, enter a meditative state, or work through a problem. I’ve seen them drawn, colored in, made with colored sand, and (my favorite!) flower petals and things foraged in nature.
I begin this mandala practice by grouping the women together and telling them they will not utter a word over the next hour. They will be in complete silence, relying on their intuition and other methods of creating together.
Then I give them a big pile or flower petals and tell them the basics of creating a mandala – start with a center and work your way out, layer by layer. Dazzled by gorgeously colored flowers, the women quickly lose their attachment to speaking and excitedly create their mandalas together. Then I put on some music, take a seat, and watch the magic happen. Every mandala is beautifully unique in its own way, and is the co-creation of each woman in the group.
Once finished, and we’ve all ooh’d and ahh’d at each other’s creations, I tell the women heartbreaking news…
Like the buddhist monks with their intricately designed colored sand mandalas (that take them months to create), we will destroy our creations to release attachment and reinforce the fact that the creation process is what really matters. So I pump up the jams and we have ourselves a flower petal mandala destroying dance party.
As much as the women love the creation of their mandalas, it’s clear that the destruction is, by far, their favorite part of the process.
It’s such a release of our attachment to what we think beauty is supposed to look and feel like. In perfection’s place is an alleviating sense of freedom. We dance and sing and throw flower petals on each other’s heads and giggle uncontrollably. Sometimes there’s tears too. Beautiful, pressure releasing tears.
After those moments of silent creation, all in a community of sisters, the pure joy and freedom we all feel is potent and healing.
What about you? Do you recall a time when you collaborated with other women or in a community of creatives and felt the magic taking place in that circle? Share it with me in the comments below!
Photos via Rosa Delgado