Picture a softly-lit space, full of relaxing red hues, sensuous smells, and soft music. Now, picture it full of women – women who are sharing stories, laughing, crying, reading, writing, creating, sewing, meditating, or simply being. If you can imagine this, then you have just entered the Red Tent within your own mind.
Organized by a group of women called the Reading Spiral Sisters, the Red Tent is an installation art piece blended with community outreach elements. It is installed inside of an old bank vault (also known as the “womb”) of the T.E.A. Factory located at 580 Willow Street in Reading, Pennsylvania. Women who have reached the age of menstruation are welcome to enter the Red Tent during its open hours. Women and girls of all ages are welcome into the Red Tent for special events, and on other designated days. Entrance into the Red Tent is free, but donations are encouraged so that this beautiful project can continue to flourish.
The concept of a Red Tent is rooted in ancient history. The Red Tent was a sacred place where women went during their menstrual cycles and during the process of giving birth. It was a place where women could feel safe, and could honor and celebrate their femininity and sisterhood. The Red tent allowed women who were in a constant state of “doing,” to just “be.”
In 1996, after Anita Diamant’s novel, “The Red Tent,” was published, a global “Red Tent Movement” began. Red Tents starting popping up in neighborhoods all over the world, giving women the chance to “be,” to explore their emotions and experiences as women, and to get back in touch with a sense of ancient sisterhood that may have been lost.
The Reading Spiral Sisters’ Red Tent was built on the same framework. As mothers, caretakers, students, employees, employers, wives and more, women who enter the Red Tent at the T.E.A. Factory are encouraged to read, journal, rest, meditate, create pieces of art, talk, listen to themselves and others, and just “be.” The goal is to create a web of women – of sisters – to support, love and honor one another (and themselves) through the ancient ritual of entering the Red Tent.
The Red Tent at the T.E.A. Factory hosts special events such as meditation groups, yoga, warrior goddess training, rituals, reiki sessions, massages, healing groups, craft nights, and much more. It facilitates community building, information and resource exchange, nourishment, validation, and empowerment for women from every sector of the community. If you would like more information on the Red Tent at the T.E.A. Factory, please visit its Facebook Page (“The Red Tent @ the T.E.A. Factory”) or the T.E.A. Factory’s website (http://teafactoryco.com).
Interview with Kelsey Frankowski