Talking circles are an Aboriginal traditional way for people to come together to talk. They provide an atmosphere of inclusiveness, safety and respect that encourages dialogue, learning, problem solving and co-creativeness. When everyone in the circle speaks and is heard in a respectful way our relationships become nutritive, fun and harmonious.
“Closeness, [the Talking Circle] brings the team together. I feel more connected and more connected to my co-workers…”
We begin our Talking Circle by smudging ourselves with sweet grass or sage. We smudge to cleanse and purify our beings. The smudge is a medicine that we use to clear our minds, calm our emotions, and to strengthen our spirits.
“I enjoy the Talking Circle because it’s a good way to share in a non-judgmental way…”
Many of our sacred objects are used to help facilitate our Talking Circles. A candle is lit in the Circle to acknowledge the fire spirit which helps us to listen to each other. We pass an eagle feather around to each person, when they hold this feather they speak and everyone else hears them.
“[The Talking Circle] has a huge influence on Pathways as a whole […] the sense of community – people can choose how much they want to share. If somebody is struggling, you know about it. Some things that people share, they probably wouldn’t if there wasn’t that community and trust…”
Pathways CSA acknowledges that the circle itself is sacred and is the Aboriginal symbol of life representing wholeness, harmony, balance, inclusiveness and the many cycles of life.