Chameli Ardagh: About the Practice…
Welcome to the Temple of Divine Feminine Flow.
Lie down on some soft pillows with a bowl of small fruit pieces, and make sure you are comfortable. Allow a few soft sighs and let one hand rest on your belly. Relax into whatever is here for you in this moment. Imagine a warm, red field of energy surrounding your body, as if you were wrapped in a silk sarong. Let your hand float up from your belly and gently make its way up your chest, face and hair. Make a few soft sounds. Relax deeply and have a juicy piece of fruit.
Now, imagine a women’s gathering that is a mix of an Indian Temple ceremony with ecstatically dancing women fully surrendered in devotion, a Bedouin oasis in the desert with fresh figs, cooing doves and huge marble tubs where the women bath and scrub each other clean, a contemporary meditation/inquiry group with practices guiding us into the vastness of our true nature and an African grieving ritual where the painful parts of our lives are honored, danced and celebrated. Now you begin to get a taste of the kind of feminine space we rest into in the Women’s Temple groups.
In order to live and embody feminine brilliance, for real, we are creating a conscious women’s culture which can awaken and nourish us in the deepest sense. The Women’s Temple group is a way for us to remind each other of who we are, in an on going way
Instead of enforcing the status quo by focusing on our problems and personal shortcomings, the Women’s Temple group practices connect us with truth beyond our fears and limited self images. From this deeper place, we can navigate from Presence and inner guidance instead of exhaust ourselves in trying to be leaders from a tense, competitive and ego-centered state of mind.
The Women’s temple is not a therapy or a support group. It is a space where we come to mirror, celebrate and empower each other. A space were we can drop our masks, and let the beauty of our authentic face be seen in all its glory and pain, passion and vulnerability.
In our Women’s temple, we meet beyond the personal, and in this expanded meeting the collective feminine as well as the personal feminine is healed and celebrated.
All our practice is based upon being present in the body, so we spend a lot of time dancing and moving. We also support each other in softening our bodies by touching each other in respectful and nourishing ways. This part of the practice is most women’s favorite part.
The Women’s Temple Group meets sometimes in women’s homes and sometimes in rented rooms. Sometimes it is a closed group, sometimes it is open for all. Sometimes the group meets weekly, sometimes less often.
We honor and treat our temple as sacred. We enter it with reverence and with the intention to be as true as we can. All superficial chit-chatting we leave outside. In our temple, we explore how it is to speak from a deeper place within, and most importantly, we explore how to communicate without speaking at all.
A Conscious Women’s Network
In the Nevada City Temple group, we have been practicing together for over nine years, and through this process a remarkable tapestry has been woven between us which embraces us through our lives inside and outside of temple. We have been there for each other, when one married her beloved, another got divorced, several published books and others started businesses. We have witnessed and assisted new houses being built, babies being born and we were together as one sister died. We have experienced wailing and raging, and dancing and celebrating. Together.
Globally we are connecting through an active Facebook page & groups, live events, interactions on the blog, and via teleclasses.
A Conscious Women’s Culture
The relationship we have to other women reflects the relationship we have to our own feminine essence. We take a stand for a conscious way of being women together on this planet.
Together we can heal and transform the old ways of competition and gossiping, and return to a relationship of celebration and empowerment.
The guidelines below are the back bone of our global community, and we ask all Awakening Women to read them and include them into our practice.
You are welcome to share the Sisterhood Manifesto with others—we just ask that you credit Awakening Women and include a link to www.AwakeningWomen.com.
To download the image: click on image – right click – select “save as”
How do I start my own group?
In the Temple Group Manual, you will find plenty of guidelines that will support you in creating a thriving and fabulous Women’s Temple, but here are a few pointers:
- Start with a small group of women who preferably have some embodied experience with the practice. (When we started Nevada City Temple group, we were two women!)
- Make it clear that it is a Temple (a wild, feminine, fun, deep, sacred temple…) and not a therapy group.
- Decide on a simple structure, like opening/ending ritual and time frame, and keep to it firmly for the first period of time to create a culture of focus and respect. (You will find guidelines and lots of exercises to do together in the Temple Group Manual.)
- Do as little talking as possible, give yourself the wonderful gift of connecting deeper than you can do with words. When you talk, do it within a practice structure.
Temple Manuals and Sisterhood Manifesto postcards are available for bulk purchase for your groups; please contact us for pricing (yoginiteam at awakeningwomen dot com).
If you would like us to list your group on our website, please review the Temple Group Listing Guidelines below. Then fill in and return the Temple Group Questionnaire.
Temple Group Listing Guidelines (download)
Temple Group Questionnaire (download)
In the last eight years, we have seen the start of Women’s Temple groups all over the world. Some are thriving and deepening year after year, nourishing remarkable spiritual awakening and real sisterhood among the women. Other groups deteriorate and fade away. Here are some observations we have made that may be helpful to you:
What makes a Temple group thrive:
- A commitment to the Temple as a spiritual practice. The level of commitment from each woman guides the depth of the practice.
- The woman initiating the group has an embodied experience of the practice. Her leadership grows out of her own practice.
- The leader(s) is holding the focus on the greater good versus egocentric ambitions.
- Everybody in the group has read the Temple manual and are clear of how the group is different than a regular “sharing/support” group.
- The Women’s Temple is a priority and held as the most sacred gift.
- The real teacher is the circle itself, and the leaders job is to serve and facilitate for the wisdom of the circle to do the work. (For more information on feminine leadership, join one of our Leadership trainings.)
What makes a Temple group die:
- We stop doing our staying in the body practice and instead trust the judgments of our mind.
- We dilute the leadership too early, and mix too many methods into the practice.
- We allow for too much chatting during temple time.
- We take the temple for granted and don’t hold the space sacred.
Create a temple day or retreat in your community
If you want to start a Temple group, have an embodied experience of Temple practices, or arrange a retreat, workshop, or initiation for your community, we recommend the following senior Awakening Women practitioners to lead Temple events in your area.
Listen to a teleclass where Chameli speaks on The Art of Leading a Woman’s group (have patience with a minute of silence in the beginning of the class).