Star Tree Grove - Tended by Ellen and the Californian Redwoods

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Based in the far north of California, nearly at Oregon, Ellen Davidson is our Grove Tender of Star Grove. Hugely connected to the Redwoods Ellen has been led by these beautiful giants to create a local TreeSisters women's circle, aka a Grove. She had previously run dream and writers groups before, but says it's very different being part of a global sisterhood of support; with its focus on the feminine in-breath of nourishment before the masculine out-breath of action.

'Anyone who is thinking of starting a Grove I'd like to really encourage you it's so nourishing for me and all the women in the circle, it's palpably different to other women's circles I've hosted or been in, there is magic in this'. ~Ellen Davidson Star Grove Tender USA

Ellen joined TreeSisters and had taken some initial steps of connecting with a specific tree and inviting her best friend. Things hadn't really taken off at this point, but once Ellen discovered the Groves something lit up, invitations were sent out, 13 women accepted her offer and Star Grove was born!

stargrove 2vStar Grove is evolving and finding its style. It has drawn women that historically have been very active in the protecting Redwoods and protesting against logging and is naturally starting to lean towards a strongly nature based and spiritual identity. It started with a strong inbreath focus, trying out practices of Sistering, and is making its way around the TreeSisters map - The Blueprint to a Restorer Species. Ellen as the tender sends out the meditation links and then brings the energy of each point of the map to each monthly session.

Ellen has had a process around finding her authentic expression of feminine nature based leadership. Having experienced strongly patriarchal models in the past she was tempted to simply call the group and allow the process to unfold, but in doing so she witnessed too much floundering and a lack of containment and holding. With support from our community of Grove Tenders Ellen 'stepped back up' and lightly steers the gatherings so that they retain clarity, focus and create a field of safety for the women to drop more deeply into.

'At first there was floundering, I didn't want to do patriarchal mode of I'm the leader so I dropped it completely - but there are a lot of beautiful powerful women so one would take us there, one would go here and we lost our holding container. So I leaned back into the holding container of TS and then offered some containment to the Grove and this has resulted in a much more harmonised and expanded field'. ~Ellen Davidson Star Grove Tender USA

StarGrove 1vSafety is really key within a woman's circle, most of us have had our safety compromised to some degree and hold parts of ourselves in as a result to this day. There is such a difference between creating safety through clarity, invitation and modelling as opposed to creating safety through controlling, repressing and restricting. For women to open and flow, circles need to be rooted through guidelines, boundaries so that each woman can know what to expect, and then within that there can be a lot of creativity and freedom.

'If I give a little bit of structure and a bit of a theme then it allows each of us to shine and share, but we create more of a field together. I felt the permission within the Grove Tenders community to step up and hold the river banks to create safety' ~ Ellen Davidson Star Grove Tender USA

Ellen regularly reaches out to the forest floor of the wider Grove Tender community for feedback and guidance, modelling with humility what it is to be part of a connected web of circles, rooted at the core in the simple TreeSister structure of in and out-breath. Each time she has turned towards the other tenders for support she has been able to return to her Grove with renewed clarity and confidence.

'I would encourage everyone to share where they are at with their Groves, I have gained support insight, multiple perspectives. Every time I've brought something up Im dealing with it I've been so strengthened and able to deal with it from a higher place in myself'.
Ellen Davidson Star Grove Tender USA

For the full interview with Ellen of Star Grove please go here.

To find out about becoming a Grove Tender please go here.


Photos courtesy of the Star Grove and Ellen


 


Jenny Smith
Jenny Smith is a very experienced facilitator having trained multiple teams to work on front line services; being a facilitator of Joanna Macy's Work that Reconnects and co-facilitating the annual Eartheart Women's Initiation with Jewels Wingfield.

Jenny is the outward co-ordinator of the Groves project – the groups through which local Treesisters gather. She supports women to call Groves into being and to help grow themselves and each other through the process.




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