Where is my moon tribe?
November 7, 2015 12:19 AM   Subscribe

I am female and 30 years old and currently in a great awakening that has been forming my whole life but only really starting to happen over the last few years. I'm a recovering Christian with relatively new feminist realizations and I want to find others like me.

You can read my profile for more keywords on my background... I'm an only child, was homeschooled up until high school, and raised Christian. Evangelical, fundamentalist, pentecostal, conservative, patriarchal Christian. Now I am agnostic, liberal, feminist - all the things that would cause my mother to grimace and sigh and my dad to roll his eyes and laugh (if they knew... not quite ready for that yet...).

I'm an introvert and not very social. I have anxiety and depression. I'm finding that a lot of my anxiety stems from the "unfortunate problem" of being born female in a society that silences, dismisses, and categorizes them. However, I am not one to NOT act when I feel wholly compelled, so I'm on a journey to awaken my feminine soul, to name it and heal its wounds, and let it emerge confident and adventurous.

I've realized I can't fully do this on my own. I have an amazingly wonderful therapist whom I see every other week and I have a supportive male partner, but I don't have any other close, authentic friendships, particularly with women. I've never been able to or known how to cultivate them.

The last couple years I've been on a quest to find strong female writers. I follow several on Twitter and subscribe to blogs. A few of my favorite books lately have been the Sally Ride biography, The Mists of Avalon, My Life in France by Julia Child, the Outlander series, and I've started reading Gloria Steinem's new memoir.

I'm also currently reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. I randomly found it at the thrift store, struck in the gut by the title and recognized the author, and it couldn't be more timely. Early in the book, she describes an experience with a group of women who participate in what they call a moon dance celebration. On the night of a full moon, they walk to the beach, make a bonfire to sit around, they sing together, share stories and experiences of their womanhood, eventually standing to dance and play in the waves... completely free and expressive and confident.

So I'm doing all of this reading, but I'm still alone. I still need to connect with women in my real life to have authentic relationships with and have our own moon dance celebrations.

I occasionally attend an all-female Al-Anon meeting on Saturday mornings and I intend to share these thoughts tomorrow and invite anyone to approach me afterwards if they're looking for the same. I'm also going to talk to my therapist next week about what options there might be in the area for group therapy that would relate to me. As much as it makes me nervous, I really need to start being deliberate about being productively uncomfortable.

And I'm also asking all of you if anyone knows of any online forums and/or real life groups for people who share my background and are on similar paths of awakening? Just to get my foot in the door and poke around to start feeling connected to something real and accessible and hopefully spark some good friendships. If it helps with your answers, I'm in the Seattle area.
posted by E3 to Human Relations (15 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
If you're interested in a spritual bent, there's apparently a Seattle women's Wicca group:

Welcome to the Women of the Goddess Circle! We are a feminist, Pagan spiritual community of women in the Dianic tradition of Wicca.

Part of a more extensive mixed-gender community.

There's also at least one womens hiking group. Also women's dragonboat racing team, etc. Doing clubs/exercise stuff is one way to meet folk and socialize in a neutral context.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:10 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hey, I randomly ran across that book (Dance of the Dissident Daughter) and really liked it too. I don't know Seattle, but you might like other answers to another question where I suggested that book. Another book I liked reading at about the same time was The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk, and by googling Starhawk Seattle, I ran across this place, which might be worth checking out. Continuing in the Starhawk vein, I recently heard some really interesting things about something dubbed Witch Camp. There are apparently local spinoffs, including one in Seattle. I've never checked out any of that personally. Other veins to tap into are classes or gatherings related to permaculture, herbalism, and midwifery, if you're interested in any of those.

You may or may not like the level and kind of "woo" you'll find in those places. It does sound like you're seeking that. But I'll just say that there are a lot of other ways to meet and get to know badass women. The first two that come to mind are rock climbing gyms and local politics or advocacy organizations. But pick whatever most interests you to find like-minded friends. Creating things is powerful, healing is powerful, and interacting with the world competently is powerful. Any path that allows you to develop and express your creativity, your competency, or your ability to support and heal others could be a useful part of your approach. You can pick what's most appealing to you. You might express your creativity via pottery, crochet, welding, home remodeling, medical or nursing or EMT school, changing public policy, running for office, managing investment portfolios, fostering abandoned kittens, caring for the sick... Maybe you want to start your own business and discover how that can transform a community and the lives of your customers and staff. Many of those things don't come with an explicit message of awakening, empowerment, or seeking to manifest your own positive vision in the world around you, but they can very much be part of that path, and it's when you're on that path, you're most likely to meet women headed a similar direction. And those kinds of things can often be easier to find, so along with moon dancing on the solstices, you might take a class on That Thing You've Always Wanted to Learn or to otherwise invest in improving your own skills and bringing your dreams closer to reality.
posted by salvia at 1:28 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think you should create one. Start a meetup group or put up posters in womens bookstores and yoga studios. I bet it will be very healing and empowering for you.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:32 AM on November 7, 2015

I'm similar to you. I made a huge pile of amazing women friends by taking up sewing. There's a huge online sewing community and I started going to local meet ups. Now these women are some of my best friends. It's a good way to get to know a range of people and connect in a low key way, and there is always something to talk about because you have the craft in common.
posted by jonathanstrange at 2:14 AM on November 7, 2015

I haven't lived in Seattle for several years but I assure you that you are surrounded by your tribe!

Have you been to East West Bookshop in Roosevelt? I think you will find plenty of good reading there--and also flyers for tons of groups and events.

Welcome to waking up. :)
posted by Sublimity at 5:16 AM on November 7, 2015

Depending on your degree of Christian recovery, you might visit Humanist / Freethinker / Skeptic / Atheist groups in your area.

Pursue a hobby of interest so you're doing something you enjoy. You'll meet like-minded people for that subject and that's a good basis for budding friendships.

Check out meetup.com for groups of interest.
posted by dancing leaves at 5:44 AM on November 7, 2015

You may have joined this already, but there's a private Facebook group for victims of spiritual abuse that's run by people at the No Longer Quivering blog. It might be useful to join and then see if there's anyone in that group that lives in your area. The members of the group may also be a source of good information re how to connect with people in your off-line world.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:37 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I also liked Steinem's book: Revolution from Within.

There's a good blogger on Patheos, in the atheism 'channel' named Libby Anne who blogs under the tag Love, Joy and Feminism. Her current post is "In Defense of Letting Kids Talk Back."
posted by puddledork at 8:31 AM on November 7, 2015

Having had a similar experience, I found that a lot of my anxiety, fear, and depression originated from the fact that I lived in such an inauthentic and judgmental environment as a christian. But when I left and took my own path, I still carried my fears into positive new environments where they didn't belong. It took me many years to only now begin to understand that I need to let go of my anxiety and fear about interacting with people at say, pottery class or a meetup, because they are not crazy christians who think I have demons and need saving. As you choose to change your environment, companions, and influences, you may also find it empowering to be able to change your mindset a bit. I can tell myself not be afraid of the book club/pottery/party people because they are not trying to manipulate me and send me to hell. If they judge me, they will judge my clothes, ideas, skills, humor, personality, etc. NOT my soul! It is therefore much less to worry about, for me, outside of a christian setting. This is not to say that I don't experience anxiety meeting people, and I am still very much an introvert, but it really helps give me a boost to remember that the new people probably don't "know" I am a "sinner" so I shouldn't feel ashamed walking in just because of my past.

I'm not in your area, so can't recommend anything in person, and I personally haven't tried the christian recovery online groups, but there are a lot of us out there.
posted by perrouno at 9:06 AM on November 7, 2015

Some of your people will be here.
posted by ananci at 9:50 AM on November 7, 2015

You want Homeschoolers anonymous.

Also seconding Libby Anne's Love, Joy, Feminism.
posted by Shanda at 10:49 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

This may or may not interest you, considering the place you are in your life, but Samantha Field is a recovering fundamentalist who is queer/abuse and rape survivor/many other things and still identifies as Christian. She has a lot of insightful stuff.
posted by lhauser at 11:11 AM on November 7, 2015

take a hike with people - take a friend from al-anon with you - volksmarches are casual, non-competitive
posted by maggieb at 4:47 PM on November 7, 2015

Look up Rachelle Mee Chapman - she's writing a book about becoming "relig-ish", leaving Christianity but still practicing spirituality. Also the work of Carol Christ might be of interest. For in-person things, look at retreat centers that hold workshops like Omega, Squam, and Hollyhock.
posted by alicat at 8:07 PM on November 7, 2015

Thank you, everyone! So many great resources.

This blog post by Glory Edim, creator of Well-Read Black Girl, popped into my feed today about finding your tribe and thought I'd add the link here, too. Inspiring.
posted by E3 at 2:17 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

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