The Red Tent
For those of you who have read the Old Testament in the Bible, you'll be familiar with Genesis 34: The Rape of Dinah.
It's the short little story of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob (of the Israelites), and she had 12 brothers. She goes into town one day to visit the women in the area when a prince sees her and rapes her. He then says he's in love with her and tells Jacob he wants to marry her. They agree upon the price being that every man in that area must be circumcised. A couple days after the circumcision, two of Dinah's brothers murder all the men in that village and take all their women, children, and belongings.
And that was it for the story of Dinah.
Until an author named Anita Diamant decided to expand on that story and write the most beautiful, heartbreaking book ever.
In "The Red Tent", Dinah tells the stories of her mothers, Jacob's four wives. She grows up the only daughter of Jacob and spends her time with her mothers; helping them cook, running the family camp, and spending time in the red tent.
Every month, on the new moon, all of the women in the tribe would gather in the red tent to celebrate the new moon and begin their menstrual cycles. They would sing songs, eat special food, and tell stories of women long ago, and goddesses. As Dinah grows up she becomes a midwife.
The story of her "rape" in this book isn't actually a rape at all. She falls in love with this prince and marries him. But he meets his untimely death same way as the Bible; Dinah's brothers murder him.
The book does go on to have a happy ending, I promise (go ahead and read it, please!), but the idea of the Red Tent is just so lovely I want to talk about it.
Currently around the world, there are countless women conducting these Red Tent circles and meetings.
The idea is that on or near every new moon, women gather together (menstruating or not), to share a space of love. It's a time for women to honour themselves & each other on their journeys, and take a break from busy schedules and routines for a short while.
It's a time for women to understand and respect their cycles and bodies. To listen to one another, and also be heard.
I love the concept so much and hope I can find & attend one some day!
Here's a lovely article about them as well.
Have you ever been to a Red Tent? What are your thoughts on them?
10/10 recommend, a truly lovely story.