The air changed this past weekend, and on its cooled currents came the first dusting of snow atop Mt. Sopris and a migration of around 130 women from all over Colorado and beyond to join locals at 13 Moons Ranch for the seventh annual Red Earth: The Mountain West Women’s Herbal Gathering. For three days, women of all kinds focused on celebrating the Wise Woman tradition of healing the self through deep nourishment, ceremony, song and dietary herbs.
Willow scent greeted me as I left my car and cell service behind, entering the womb of Red Earth Herbal Gathering. Tucked under Wemagooah (a Ute name for Sopris), I felt power radiating from the land. A pathway sparkling with plant allies led to registration and all that awaited: the marketplace abuzz with botanical commerce, an array of outdoor spaces for connective workshops, a Wellness Village for women to receive all flavors of healing treatments, a fairy garden blasting Spanish dance music for the kids and moms to play to.
The path continued along the Crystal River, beckoning us. Oriana Moebius, co-organizer and steward of the magical 13 Moons Ranch, where the seventh annual gathering was being hosted for the first time, said, “A lot of work was needed, but the whole village showed up to help make the vision I had to gather women on this land the night I got here happen, 13 years ago when I came back home for good.” Moebius is a fifth-generation Carbondalien, but had been living abroad with her family. She told of a potent gathering in Costa Rica which inspired her participation in “creating a women’s only space for mothers to feel safe with their children living with the land as we are meant to.”
Previously located on the Front Range, this move to Carbondale was an attempt to find Red Earth a true home, co-founder Astrid Grove told me. We look to the red cliffs in the north and agree they are onto something.
Grove also had a vision from Spirit. “I wanted my girls to grow up in this women’s culture that we co-create without even trying, just by being together. So I created Red Earth with my friend Leela. I wanted women to be deeply nourished, as one of my biggest intentions. We know that it’s up to us to hold the energy of the planet right now during this great turning that is happening, it’s super intense and scary. We know as women that it’s up to us, but we don’t know what to do … this is what we do. We gather.”
Jenna Barnes called Grove last summer relaying a vision she had been given of cooking for this very gathering. Grove’s instant “yes” made the visionary trifecta complete; Barnes and her crew of kitchen goddesses supplied the heart of the gathering: deep nourishment. Crocks of animal bone broth, gallons of fortifying teas with herbs Moebius grew and gifted, plus three organic meals a day made with so much love.
On the first afternoon, I sat in ceremony in the Red Tent with these special women and felt the power of Sacred Sisterhood become part of me.
The Red Tent was just one of 27 juicy workshops replete with herbal and woman wisdom. Participants could choose up to six during the weekend: from tincture making to drum making with local goddess Alya Howe, herbal aphrodisiacs (there was a lot of vulva talk) to permaculture, aerial arts, menstrual care, self-breast massage and much more.
For three days we celebrated being the container of the entire species with five F’s EagleSong Gardener taught us: “fun, food, friends, family and fire.” We had all of those, belly laughs, singing around the fire about abuelas and pajaritos, dancing while BethyLoveLight rapped herbal disquisitions. The medicine of the plants and the wisdom of our grandmothers are inseparable. This is what we celebrated: reclaiming our power.