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HOW THE CIRCLE WORKS
- HOLDING HANDS: stand in a circle, look around and see everyone else’s face. WE ARE TOGETHER AND PRESENT.
- INITIATION: indicates that we are entering a unique space and time, different from the way we are together at other times. It is done by lighting a FIRE, or a CANDLE, or doing a purification through smoking (SMUDGING) incense.
- SALUTES: standing, we take each other’s hands, look around and meet each other’s glances, acknowledge each other. Nodding one’s head, one thanks everyone for coming.
- THANKSGIVING: “Now that we have seen who we are we can join our minds in this Circle for the first time as one and we bring our greetings and thanks to … Mother Earth; to all those who take root in the earth, the grass, the people who stand upright, the trees, the beings who crawl under the earth, who run and walk, who swim in the waters, who fly in the air, the other hand beings; Grandfather Sun who gives us light, warmth and energy and Grandmother Moon who gives us the cycles of purification and fertility and stimulates our creativity; the great Circle of stars; the power that created all this, the Great Spirit, Great Mystery; and so be it in our minds.
- OPENING: it is often good to begin the circle with a few seconds or minutes where each person introduces themselves (name and where they are from) and then says something they feel is NEW and BEAUTIFUL. Starting in a constructive and positive way is important.
- TURN OF THE STICK: once the topic is established, perhaps there has been a reading or seminar by the person who has leadership, you divide the time available by the number of participants. The baton is then passed and each person has the allotted time to express what comes out of his or her heart. When the time is over, he passes the baton to another who does the same thing until everyone has had their time and expressed themselves in the way they see fit within the general rules.
- GREETING: When the session is over, we say goodbye by saying thank you.
THE BASICS, THE RULES
- RESPECT: is the center of the Circle wherever it is done, this agreement must always be there at the beginning and it is good to remember it at the opening of each Circle, especially if there are new people. It must be given freely and in a group requires the agreement of all members.
- HONESTY: It adds strength to the Circle. When there is no honesty it is because there is fear. Respect prevents this fear. In the Circle we are accepted and respected, we are safe, and this makes us open. Openness helps us get closer to others. Intimacy is not possible without openness.
- TRUST and “SECRET”: everything that is revealed in the Circle stays in it and is not taken out of it.
- EMPATHIC LISTENING: mode of present and total listening to the person speaking by the whole circle. It is the most important quality of attention, that of becoming a limpid mirror for the speaker.
- NO ADVICE: no advice should be given, but in case help the person find within himself possible solutions to the problem and realize them. In this case the task is to help the person express his emotions and also his ideas. Giving advice at that time prevents the person from finding solutions on his or her own and places the focus back on the person giving advice. After that it is good for the person to make a decision about the problem. By asking them to make a decision we help them move closer to a deeper level of intuitive understanding.
- WORSHIP STICK: The person holding the stick or other chosen symbol has a set time to speak and say what he or she feels is arising from the heart. Only those who have this can do this; others must listen empathetically and supportively.
- NO COMMENTS: no comments or anything similar are made about what one has said. It is important not to make any judgments, even within oneself.
- LEADER: The leader takes responsibility for guiding the circle so that the rules are followed. He gives a certain direction to the circle, will keep its opening, announce its purpose or theme, choose the form, enforce agreements made, including time, interruptions, speaking in a relaxed and positive tone etc. It is good to rotate the leadership role from time to time for everyone to take responsibility. It is good for everyone to participate, but for the final execution of decisions to be in the hands of one person. He is a kind of facilitator and coordinator. It is good for everyone to have a task so that they take some responsibility and share the burden among everyone. It is also good for the leader to be supported and appreciated by all the other members of the Circle.
- EQUALITY, COMMON AGREEMENT, COOPERATION
- CONFLICT RESOLUTION: No one should have a feeling of having lost. It is implemented in stages:
- CLEARLY DEFINE THE PROBLEM: get all parties to agree on its definition. Only when it is clearly defined are you ready for suggestions. This is an INDIVIDUAL EXPLANATION: each person must explain what the problem is for him or her, and then arrive at a COMPLETE DEFINITION of the issue.
- BRAINSTORMNG: everyone proposes a solution, even an illogical one, of how they can solve the problem. If from these solutions you find one that everyone agrees on ok, otherwise you move on to a next step. It is good to take notes, perhaps on a blackboard, of the suggestions and it is good that these are neither analyzed nor criticized. This is a process so that creativity is unleashed and as many ideas as possible are put together.
- SUMMARY AND COMMENT on SOLUTIONS. The solutions that emerged are summarized and commented upon where each person finds what he or she initially appreciates and, then, what he or she thinks does not work about the solution.
- AGREEMENT: everyone explains why they disagree with a solution and will move forward to find a solution that works for everyone.
- UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTING SOLUTION: Once the agreement, the solution, is found, it is repeated clearly so that the agreement is understood and accepted by all.