As women and men at Earthaven, we share a passion for the movement from a violent, fear-based dominator culture to a collaborative, love-based partnership culture. Within this context, there are many ways individuals are breaking down traditional “roles” that the conditioning of our present mainstream culture has placed on us. Many of these changes revolve around gender roles, interpersonal communication, feminism, and sexual preference.
Here, men and women share various tasks and activities based on what feels good for them, not what they are “supposed” to do. It is not uncommon to see women slinging wood mauls or doing other “masculine” activities, while men may be wearing skirts, dancing, or leading intimacy workshops—activities often considered “feminine”.
Of course, some women feel more comfortable in the kitchen with the children while some men would just rather build a house. We do not want to be intolerant in any direction! Embracing both our feminine and masculine while playing between the two is a common occurrence here.
Over the years, there have been hundreds of women's and men's circles. Currently there are regular Red Tent moonlodge ceremonies where women gather on dark moons. SE Wise Women organize the annual fall SE Women's Herbal Conference nearby, which involves many of the women from the community, and draws women from far and wide.
At Earthaven, there are straight and gay couples, queer folk, monogamous marriages, sweethearts, and many other creative manifestations of what our intimate relationships can look like. With an attitude of tolerance and curiosity, we hope to foster a safe place for vibrant and alternative relationship dynamics to grow.
Of course, there is always more room for growth, education, and acknowledging the hidden prejudices we all carry within. For years, many of us have longed to have more racial diversity, and we've been delighted when several African-American families have been involved with the community. We notice that there are both seen and unseen challenges to overcoming deep cultural barriers.
So what will you find here at Earthaven? Women and men being typical of women and men everywhere, yet also highly creative and experimental in thought and action. Support exists here for traditional families and non-traditional relationships, and the expectation that the two will co-exist side by side. It is especially when we travel into the mainstream that we return with renewed appreciation for how much room to grow and be truly ourselves Earthaven culture allows us!