A Look at the Women’s Sanctuary at Enchanted Forest

A Look at the Women’s Sanctuary at Enchanted Forest

If you’ve been to a gathering like Enchanted Forest, you’ve seen how our community supports each other by providing spaces to learn and grow. These spaces let people be themselves without judgment. But like we’ve seen with the #metoo movement, uncomfortable or unwanted sexual situations can happen even in the most supportive and loving environments.

As humans, our ability to communicate things like “No, I don’t want a kiss” makes us unique from other mammals. But just because we can communicate doesn’t mean it’s easy. Many people struggle with expressing their needs and boundaries. In a community like ours where open sexuality is supported, boundaries and consent are more important than ever. This means we need to create space where boundaries and consent are practiced and promoted.

The women’s sanctuary is a sacred space devoted to cultivating empowerment and community amongst the female-bodied beings present at Enchanted Forest. It’s intended for personal reflection and supportive companionship with people who have your back. I caught up with Heart from the women’s sanctuary team to find out more about the space and how we’re using it to support the feminine energy of our community. Check it out!

Why is it important to have a separate safe space for women?

The entire gathering is a safe space. We promote safety by doing things like not selling alcohol at Enchanted Forest. But “feeling safe” is very subjective. Women in our community have found that having a dedicated space for women provides an extra layer of safety that can’t be found elsewhere.

What can women expect to find in the sanctuary?

The sanctuary is a relaxing space where women can go to get grounded. Guardian sisters will be present almost 24 hours a day, Friday – Sunday. The environment is an expression of our stellar team’s heart and soul. In the main space, women can participate in deep sharing with others or personal peacefulness.

The sanctuary includes a private outdoor lounge for women on their moon cycle to seek refuge if they need a moment to ground into the Earth. We’ll offer a self-care altar with sweet methods for emotional integration, including resources for learning about empowering our YES/NO, communicating effectively, and seeking additional help as needed.

Are men allowed in the sanctuary?

No. The sanctuary is a space for women only. We have male allies who help with set up and production, but otherwise the space is for women for the duration of the gathering. We are SO grateful to the men in leadership at Enchanted Forest for understanding the community need for such a space and for supporting our efforts by making sure everything comes together so gracefully! A million thank yous!   

Any changes to the sanctuary since last year?

Some version of the women’s sanctuary has been happening for the last few years, and every year it’s refined and naturally comes together even more amazingly. One difference is that we will be closing the space every day from 7 AM to 11 AM to reset so that we can serve the community better the rest of the time.  

How is the #metoo movement affecting women in the festival community?

The #metoo movement is definitely affecting the festival community. It could be said that the west coast festival community was one of the first to embody the values that have led to #metoo finally going mainstream. #metoo establishes an atmosphere of transparency. It helps people feel safe to speak out because they know violators will face consequences, either legally or socially. Hopefully the tragic sharings that have come to light will encourage accountability in sexual relations for all beings wherever they are on the spectrum of gender.  We also hope men feel called to be allies for women when needed.

Anything else you would like to share about the Women’s Sanctuary?

We hope that all the women at the festival feel welcome to come recharge and be nourished by the sanctuary.  We offer an energetic infrastructure and tangible support plus much more. If you’re a woman, come engage in the space and feel it for yourself!

Lindsay Dilworth

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