In the past three weeks, I’ve been speaking and listening and feeling a shift in the field, as women increasingly want to be involved in contributing their way to seeing and doing as solutions to bigger problems. I returned yesterday from Mobile, AL, where I keynoted the WomenSpeak 2010 conference on “Women in Circles Changing the World.” I had come to Mobile directly from New York City, where I participated in events centered around the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. I was there as the leading advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women (and Girls).

Since writing The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and The World and Urgent Message From Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World, I have been seeding circles with a spiritual center and have taken on the role as a message carrier. There was an extraordinary response to what I had to say in Alabama and a shift in receptivity at events at the UN. The online petition “Support a UN 5th World Conference on Women” (go to www.jeanbolen.com, click the GoPetition logo) is another sign (went from 2,000 signatures to 8,000 in a month.

I am looking forward to coming to Plymouth, MN, to keynote and give a workshop at the Alive Aware Awake! Women’s Gathering. The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has been at the leading edge of social responsibility and citizen activism. The largest group of girls (ages 10 to 17) to the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 was organized in Minneapolis.

If grassroots activism influences the UN through their governments to have a 5th world conference, the first since the internet and the 21st century, it may very well be the tipping point. Only when a critical number of women become involved in making decisions that affect us all, will the planet be a safe and good place for all children.

When women come together and make a commitment to each other to be in a circle with a spiritual center, they are creating a vessel of healing and transformation for themselves, and a vehicle for change in their world. These are circles of compassion that can become incubators for personal and political change.

An egalitarian circle with a spiritual center is a model most easily created by women, but is a form not limited to women. Circles with a sacred center are the means through which a third wave of feminism, based upon spiritual equality and compassion, can bring about an evolutionary change in human society which would end the conditions that foster terrorism. The premise: A world that is safe for children will not breed terrorists; a world that is safe for women is a world where children are safe. For this to come about, the principles of circle and hierarchy must come into balance, otherwise the acquisition of power over others prevails and no one can be safe.

Holding hands to form a circle immediately connects us, one to another. Touch comforts, the clasp of hands forms an unbroken circle – a non-verbal statement that we are together. When silence for reflection, meditation or prayer is added, it is also an experiential introduction to the archetype of the circle with a spiritual center, which I have been seeding as an idea through lectures, workshops and my most recent books, including Goddesses in Older Women.

When I describe how to form and maintain circles, the analytic vessel and Jungian concepts of the psyche provide the structure and spirit through which a circle can become a vessel of healing and transformation. Further, if the collective unconscious and the morphic field are actually the same, circles become vessels for the transformation of culture, as well. An alchemy or reciprocal effect that changes both, occurs between the individual circle and the archetype of the circle. (In essence, this is an application of theoretical biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s thinking to Jungian psychology; humanity’s morphic field is Jung’s collective unconscious.)

A proliferation of circles has the potential to become a force for social justice by bringing feminine values of relationship and interdependency into a culture of hierarchy and dominance through power. Women as a gender use conversation to bond which makes the circle a natural medium and form.

Women in small groups became the Women’s Suffragette’s movement, gaining women the right to vote in 1920. Women in small consciousness-raising groups led to the Women’s movement of the 1970s. As a result, what was once unthinkable for women to do became usual and incorporated into cultural values. If women’s circles with a spiritual center become the source of a third wave of feminism, the effect in Jungian terms would be to bring feminine and masculine principles into balance within collective consciousness.


Alive Aware Awake! Women’s Gathering is an opportunity for women to join together and raise the vibration of the feminine energy of loving relationships and spiritual consciousness to new levels in our area, thus increasing the vibration in our world. It takes place April 30 to May 1 at the Radisson Plymouth Conference Center in Plymouth, MN. Register now at www.aliveawareawake.com. For more information, contact Mary Welch at 763.566.6816.

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker who draws from spiritual, feminist, Jungian, medical and personal wellsprings of experience. She is the author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, Close to the Bone, The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don't Whine and Urgent Message from Mother. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, a past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and the International Transpersonal Association.

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