On Saturday, May 4, the witches of New College gathered at the Chiki Hut to cast a spiritual womyn’s circle to celebrate Beltane and the new moon in Taurus. Thesis student Becca Caccavo organized the ceremony, seeking participants through an open invitation sent to the Forum and StudentsList. Women, womyn and those who identify with experiences of womanhood were welcome to participate. Attendees would come together in “communion and community for an evening of intention-setting, meditation, self-blessing and connecting to the divine, the earth and one another,” as described in the invitation. This was the third officially hosted spiritual circle during Caccavo’s time at New College, since entering in 2014.
“My second year, the spring of 2016, myself, Sadé Holmes (‘14), Muireall Brown (‘15) and Milo Leon (‘15) worked with yoga instructor Helen Kestler to host a womyn’s circle for the new moon in Aries,” Caccavo said in an email interview. “Helen is a wise woman and has been a leader of different womyn’s circling groups for decades, so she was really excited to collaborate with us.”
Kestler facilitated the ancient tradition as Wise Woman while Caccavo assisted as Maiden. Participants were asked to bring offerings for the altar, including “meaningful tokens,” “beautiful fabric,” “organic matter,” “crystals” and “anything related to fertility.” Caccavo emphasized timely arrival to the ceremony, noting that newcomers may not be admitted once the circle is cast.
The event grew popular on campus as students devoted themselves to learning about circling in an academic setting.
“The next fall, for his psychology thesis, Oliver Goldsmith (‘13) led a ‘Spiritual Circling’ tutorial, where about 10 of us met every week,” Caccavo added.
The spiritual influences of the ceremony come from global neo-paganism and wicca. Caccavo feels that spiritual circling is a valuable tradition that “creates community and connection amongst womyn.”
“Everyone’s always going through their own trials, challenges, blessings—but coming together to hold space and connect with one another and the divine is a powerful and grounding experience,” Caccavo said. “It’s the creation of a sacred space, relatively non-denominational (yet leaning toward neo-paganism), which is a source of rejuvenation and light regardless of what anyone may be experiencing in their lives.”