Moon Circle – being with women.

By Sian Hannagan
Jan 2018

Lucy Aitken-Read’s latest creation, Moon Circle is exactly what I needed to read in this sometimes summer season. I have spent so much of my last months in the process of doing. I have had no time simply for being, and the being is what has been missing from my life right now. So, when I got a chance to review this book, I stepped into the moment, knowing it was the right thing, at the right time. In those times of perfect confluence, something good always grows.

Moon Circle is an E-book, but I knew that I needed to read this in the most tangible form possible, so I printed it, which is not as terrible as it sounds because at 86 pages double sided, this book is not massive. Don’t take that to mean this book is thin on content because it is not. Moon Circle is a book of abundance, each page ripe with words to treasure.

Holding the printed pages in my hand, unbound, I settled into a small nook to read. The evening sun filtering through dust motes to settle in with me.

I am a swift reader, so could have devoured this book in half an hour or less. But I found myself taking deliberate pauses to reflect. Re-reading sections to winnow further meaning from the words. Closing my eyes and visualising the described scenes. I felt present. Both with the book and withLucy, which is somewhat eerie, but comforting at the same time.

Lucy’s book takes you right into the Moon Circle space. She talks about the sacred, the mystery and the inner being of us, and she also talks about the mundane, the day to day and the practical. She does both with alacrity, and in doing so she invites us into her world. When Lucy talks about the mother wound, it echoes into some hollow space within, and it’s hard not to simply re-write verbatim what she has written in this chapter. Because it is important. I can only hope that reading this review encourages you to read Moon Circle. And in turn ‘Womb of Light’ by Bethany Webster.

I find the strength of this book, is that it is practical. It offers real life examples and a guide on how to bring regular moon circles into your life. This is a great book to read if you are hesitant, awkward or dubious of how a circle gathering would fit into your day to day. Lucy’s warm, earthy prose is welcoming. It is hard to read it and not feel like you have been invited to something special. Every so often she weaves some poetry in or a little humorous embroidery. There are awkward giggles and moments of uncertainty. But this does not mean that Moon Circle lacks depth. There are also moments of intensity that take us delving. This can be a little scary for those of us who have built strong scaffolding of protection around our inner selves. For me having spent a whole life avoiding close human contact and eschewing physical contact other than with those closest to me, reading about kind touch between strangers and the healing power of touch was strangely emotional. This is the magic of Moon Circle, a book that allows us to take that step off from the known and into a place of growth. It is a wonderful starting point for the uninitiated.

Talk of spirituality can be difficult for some of us. It’s a loaded term that comes with a lot of preconceptions. Lucy opens up this difficult concept and her conversation allows for many forms of spirituality to belong in the moon circle space, she invites us to bring what is important to us to the narrative “These circles are strong enough to hold the beliefs of all the women present – they are so encompassing and so expansive that a circle can bind us all in healing”

One area that I valued, was the segment on cultural appropriation. Too often books that touch on spirituality, particularly those that build a framework for the newly spiritual to work within, lift practices from around the world without discretion or care for how these rituals came to be. There is no comprehension of their meaning within the context of the communities they are practiced in. They hang adrift, lost without context. Lucy takes time to emphasise the importance of setting your own circle rituals, without the theft of cultural traditions. She challenges us to avoid borrowing deeply sacred practices, commodifying them in a pseudo spiritual way. She acknowledges that this is damaging. Not only to the cultures they borrow from, but also to the appropriator. Ritual without a strong foundation is empty, it is a parody. Often it is a lack of critical reflection, which puts me off works like this. So, seeing cultural appropriation robustly covered here was a joy.

From the discovery of our own individual cycles to the exploration of different ways of connecting Lucy’s book hit the right notes the whole way through. It is well referenced, well researched and written from a place of honesty. It wasn’t until the end however that this book really hit me in the chest. That take a shaky breath and pause kind of moment. Where Lucy talks about the power of women meeting, outside the construct of patriarchy, seeking female spaces where women relate in deep and affirming ways. She homes in on what is most relevant. Finding spirituality in modern world contexts is not about finding mother earth, or any other overused honorific for feminine deity. It is about finding each other, in a way that matters. This is what makes this book so very important to womanhood, and to motherhood in the 21st century.

My one and only criticism is that this book needs to be published to paper, to sit cherished on the shelves of our houses, held in our hands and read aloud to our listening hearts. Breathing in the ink, paper and insight. Held close.

Lucy’s book ‘Moon Circle’ is available for purchase by download from 8 January on her website

Lucy Aitkenread is a writer, activist and mother. She recently moved her family from London to a yurt in the Coromandel where she writes and makes videos about living compassionately.

Lucy’s book Moon Circle is now available as a paperback