On reintegration and reimagination.
A dance. A circular dance. Women collect, plan, gather, work, build. New women arrive and are held in a wondrous cauldron while they journey deep into their own core and return bearing gold. And then, industriously and swiftly, the mystery is dis-membered, re-folded, packed, stowed and removed. Day-to-day reality is replaced, though we all know now that there is a better, deeper, more real reality that we all hold a thread of, secretly, in the heart we share.
We all go home. And it’s done, right? Yeah, right. Most who have been through, and anyone who’s been back to staff knows full well that it’s not done, not by a lifetime. Not done – begun. Why would you not want more of the magic? Even if the magic is sometimes painful and snotty and loud and hard. You’d want to grab hold of a hand and stay in the dance, stay connected.
And so there are R-Groups. The dance goes on, the magic continues. R for what? Re-connection, re-integration, re-imagining, re-membering, re-creating, ruminating, revelling, rescuing, re-igniting, restoring, re-viewing.
Just as the dust is settling after WiP, groups of women come together again. Two groups of newly-initiated powerful women, each held by two or three women who’ve been dancing for a while and have committed a few hours a month to treading the measure with the new dancers. The dancing is virtual, in the virtuous, etheric circle enabled by technology, and for two hours each month, for six months after the initiation, the circles form in imagination around the Unstone fire and the fertile ground is worked once more.
Time was when there was just one initiation a year, in May – the time of Beltane, of fire, of the pathway of strength, of putting cattle out to fresh pasture. Then, the R-Groups wove the web in towards Samhain and Imbolc, into the dark, and there was a still place until the Summer Lady returned. Then, the voices round the imagined fire were just that – voices reverberating over the phone lines. Now, there are two initiations, and the voices have faces, and the dance is all but continuous: initation mothers R-groups which weave into initiation and mother new groups: hand to hand in a deep pattern of circling, stirring the growth of the goddess’s presence in the world.
R-Groups are amazing. Until a couple of years ago they happened via Conference Genie: an effective, but fairly expensive telephone conferencing facility. And then one woman in an R-group I was facilitating suggested we use Zoom and offered to organise this for us herself via a family account. Suddenly the whole R-Group experience lifted, because we could see each other. No longer reliant on memory for who was present or who was who or who was speaking, no longer needing to remind everyone to speak her name before speaking anything else, we are all there, on the screen. With choices, it must be said – connection can be made via device, mobile or landline, and if women didn’t want to be seen, there’s the option to switch video off.
It’s a journey, being part of an R-Group. We revisit the ground trodden on the initiation, and there’s time to share experience, to talk about the return to the world and how that went and how the insights gained are working out at home, in the workplace, with friends. Time, too, to go deeper, to consider aspects of predator energy further, to think and talk more about how and when it shows up.
WiP is such a phenomenal experience. It changes so much about self-perception, about how the world looks. It’s worth holding on to, and joining an R-Group is one way of doing that in a consistent, regular container which knows where you’ve been and in which you can maintain your growth into your power. Your choice, of course – there are always choices – but this is a good way of retaining the grasp on the possibility of choice and the possibility of re-visioning your life in the company of women who are doing the same.
– Kate Napier, Elder Dragon with Kite rising