Anoushka Florence on the Revolutionary Power of Women’s Circles
Anoushka Florence carries herself like a mythical being. Just look at her Instagram and you’ll see what I mean. When she meets me at my hotel in London, I am struck by her warm, expansive energy. In a city that leads so much from its head (and its pocketbook), she leads from the heart.
Of course, I am far from the first person to be drawn in by Anoushka’s charismatic presence. In 2015, she founded The Goddess Space, a company which holds intimate gatherings for women. What began with her holding women’s circles in her living room has has since grown immensely; she now gets featured in outlets like Vogue and hosts pop-up Goddess Gatherings around the world.
Women’s circles are quite simply gatherings of women, where women can come together in a supportive environment to share with one another in a safe space. The Goddess Space in particular is rooted in ancient, spiritual feminine practices, designed to help women get in touch with their true selves through things like meditation and other healing rituals, such as wisdom sharing. We talked to Anoushka about her own personal journey, and why so many women have sought community within her circles.
What is The Goddess Space and how did it come about?
It started when I became basically an apprentice of this astrologer. She lived in this little cabin by Hampstead Heath, which is like the most mystical part of London. I walk in and her whole apartment is filled with apothecary bottles and witches’ books and cauldrons and herbs and tarot cards. I was like: "What the hell is this?” And we started connecting. She basically taught me everything. I would go to her apartment every Monday and she would teach me about moon cycles, herbs, tarot and astrology – all these kind of divine feminine practices. The Goddess Space started because, as I was learning all this stuff with her, I was like, "I need to teach what I'm learning with you with other women." I was astounded that we haven't been taught this, these secret hidden truths about women. And the more I did them, the more I realized – this is my calling.
Where did your own interest in spirituality stem from?
I came from a very religious Jewish family, so spirituality was always something that was ingrained in my childhood. I only went to Jewish schools when I was younger. This idea that there is something out there other than me was huge. And then I kind of rebelled against it all when I was 13 because it was quite pushed down my throat. So I kind of wanted to see what the other side looked like. I wanted to define what that meant for me rather than what I'd been told it meant. So I kind of just pushed it all the way and was like: I'm going on my own journey now. That kind of led me down paths that weren’t the most helpful: partying and exploring with drugs and alcohol. I went through this tumultuous teenage experience, and in doing so, I believe that I stepped further and further away from my spirit. It took me away from myself. And so when I got to about 22 I remember looking at myself in the mirror and not knowing who was staring back. I just didn't know myself anymore. And so I had to start making changes. I basically just quit everything that was happening in my life. I broke up with my partner, I quit my job, I moved my apartment, all in the space of a week. I just had to get rid of everything because I had such a deep calling that I was on the wrong path. And that was really what I attribute to the beginning of my awakening.
What were some of the formative spiritual experiences you had after that?
Things started coming to me and they came in very unexpected places. For example, I decided I wanted to pursue acting. So I joined an acting school and the teacher walked in and the first thing he said was: "Before you pick up a script, before you ever dare take on a character, you need to know exactly who you are." So every day before we would pick up a script, we would actually meditate. And I had never meditated before. It was method acting so you very much needed to feel it all in order to be it. If I didn't know this woman's pain that I was acting, how could I portray it? So I had to get to know these parts of myself that I'd really never felt before and that I'd been squashing.
With your community gatherings and holding space for women, how do you weave men into it?
My role at the moment is to hold space for women. It doesn't feel authentic for me to hold space for men.
I meant as far as dialogue. For example, is there conversation that takes place about what happens when women go home to their partners, if they have a male partner?
Yes, 100%. For me, the feminine way of healing is very gentle. It's not, "let me show you what to do." It's not outward. It's inward. And I have seen through my experience that if I embody this healing within myself, my energy creates a ripple effect that transcends to my partner in the most graceful, effortless and sacred ways. I've seen it with my partner. When I first met him, I was 25 and just beginning my journey. And he was super supportive, but he wasn't on the journey with me. And as I evolved, it trickled down to him. I never forced it on him. But he felt the energy change. And by that very nature, we both started flowing together.
I have had my own experiences of feeling disconnected in heterosexual partnerships, and I have had so many profound healers or female mentors in my life that say: Just keep doing your own work and he will follow you.
If ever start feeling frustrated with what he’s doing or not doing, I know that that's an invitation for me to release control or to fall deeper into myself. A silly example is last night: we were having a chill evening and I'm unwinding and meditating just in my zone, and he's lying next to me on his phone. I'm thinking like, Why is he on his phone? Just put the phone away and just be in the moment! And then I realize: No, wait. This is my moment to be deeper with myself right now.
If someone isn't in London and doesn’t have access to The Goddess Space or other things like it, is there something that they can do at home on their own that supports the work you are doing?
A women’s circle is a sacred space. But anything can become a sacred space if you create that intention behind it. For me, having a sacred space as a woman, it's like a womb that you can fall back into. It's a space where you can recharge, reconnect, and remember all of the parts of you, who you are, what you need, what you desire, what you know, what you're ready to let go of. It's like your returning space. And we need that as women. We need those spaces where we're like, Okay, this hour, it's just for me, I'm going to nurture myself. You have to put an intention behind it. Make every moment magical. You want to clean your house? Make it magical, clean it with intention. Maybe there's an energy that you want to let go of as you're sweeping your floor. We have the power as women to make every moment magic. And we just need to remember that. I mean, a practical tip I always recommend is for women to create a little space in their home, like an altar space. And every time you see it, it brings you home.
What might that look like?
It might look like a shelf in your living room that you fill with objects that are sentimental, that you create with intention. Maybe put you have put out a beautiful photograph that reminds you how powerful you are, or a quote or a crystal. Anything that will make you remember you. It's about bringing objects of meaning and intention into one space and allowing those objects to charge you every time you're with them.
Why do you think your women's circles fulfil such a need for people?
I think we've forgotten our power. And when we step back into these circles, we are able to remember what's buried deep within us. These things have been suppressed for so many hundreds of years that actually we have come to actually fear our power. We fear sharing it with others because there hasn't been a safe space to do that for so long. These women’s circles are sacred spaces to allow parts of you that have been hiding, that have been shot down, to start coming out. To have these spaces where women feel safe to be able to do that is, in my eyes, revolutionary.
Photo by Gazelli House
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