Archive: Practice circles – the next step

By Ivy Thomas
November 2015

This post has been moved from its original location at PeerSpirit.com and archived here, so you can continue to access it.


This month’s Circle Tale was written by Ivy Thomas. Ivy is a longtime friend of The Circle Way and a teaching colleague who has created circles in many aspects of her life. In her "day job," she works for the United Church of Canada's British Columbia Conference as a person who often brings circle as a tool for solving complex communication challenges. 


 Ivy Thomas, Christina Baldwin, and Ann Linnea

Ivy Thomas, Christina Baldwin, and Ann Linnea

It's 12:30 Monday afternoon and eight women have gathered for a light lunch at the Community Co-op store.  Some have traveled for an hour, some two and some four hours to be together. We eat, chat, catch up on life in general, then move our cluster upstairs to a gathering room that has been earlier set up with a circle of chairs and beautiful centre. Today our circle conversation will include movement, music, and dance. It is inspired by a two-day retreat held earlier in the year. 

We call ourselves the Pacific Northwest Circlers and have been meeting monthly for over two years. We incorporate new members on an annual basis. Our purpose for meeting (as if you need a purpose to gather in circle!) is to practice, develop, and enhance our circle skills. Each of us has completed at least one Circle Practicum or has been involved in other circles. We take turns with hosting, guardianship and scribing when necessary. The opportunity to experiment, play, fail, and learn in a safe environment has been invaluable in the development of our circle skills. 

I am also part of a second group of people who have been regularly gathering in circle for the past two years. We have emerged from the North American Fire Gatherings to tend to the shift of the body of work called The Circle Way (TCW) from a founders' company (PeerSpirit) to a global network that carries and evolves it forward, maintaining the integrity of the process.

One of our responsibilities has been working to support current practitioners and lifting up new ones. We know that after completing the Circle Practicum some participants are still hesitant to put their learning into action. In considering the best way to encourage each and every one of you, we wish to promote the forming of Practice Circles, like the one described in the first paragraph. These may be held face-to-face or electronically, depending on your location and/or interest.

Trained TCW Practitioners circle the globe and while you may not know of anyone in your area, you might be surprised to find out you are not alone! Here are a few options for connecting into Practice Circles:   

  1. Start your own - Check out our new website www.thecircleway.net where you can find resources and videos to help fine tune your skills. There is also a subscribe feature on the site where you can sign up to receive news, stories and updates on The Circle Way. 
  2. Join The Circle Way Practitioners Facebook group and let it be known that you want to join or create a practice circle. 
  3. If you would like our assistance in connecting you with others, please feel free to contact us at contact@thecircleway.net and let us put you in touch with others who are interested in joining a Practice Circle. 

It is our hope that through Practice Circles each of you will find your own rhythm of circle gatherings, which will enhance your skills, empower your lives, and move circles more widely into the world.