When did you express interest in the Gift? What drew you to the space?
Trinda (Mother): When I first heard about this ‘process’, my spidey senses knew it was something I had to do. No question. It pulled at me even though I was seriously over any kind of groups or processes at that time. A friend of mine had been the organiser for this first one, and then afterwards I started to be an organiser too, so I could be in the space as often as possible.
Mallika (Daughter): I was first invited to take part in the Gift when I was 16, and stood as Maiden and as witness for several years before taking part in the rites themselves. I was immediately struck by a deep sense of being held by an incredibly strong and safe circle of women, and being seen by them. I also loved the depth of authentic ritual I experienced, and a form that offered clarity and structure without artifice or theatre. When I smudged the circle for the first time, I felt as though I had come home.
What were the benefits for you personally? How has the experience affected your relationship? Have the dynamics between you changed and if so, how?
Trinda: Firstly, it ripped the status quo “wallpaper” off my seeing of the world, and allowed me to see everything more deeply, more truly. I saw all the blind spots in our culture, the transparent beliefs, and knew I had to work to make some kind of change even if it was just in me.
And then, I think recognising the deep importance of this space as a gateway to our ancient knowing, and all that came alive in me once I had stepped in, I knew that my daughter would also value it for the same reasons. She had the capacity to sit and hold space as a very young woman and came into the weekend as Maiden as soon as she could. To be in the space with her validated something neither of us had probably previously articulated, and that acceptance of lineage had made a huge difference to our deep connection.
Mallika: As a young woman, the naming and validation of my voice and my innate wisdom, in a circle of powerful women, had a hugely profound effect on me.
Having my innate and burgeoning femininity seen and honoured in a group that included my mother, after a long time of living apart, was incredibly healing. It re-opened doors of intimacy and connection in our relationship, and also new doors of friendship. After meeting my mother in the Gift, I began to see her as a woman—whole unto herself— as opposed to just part of my story. I too began to feel like my own woman – whole, complete, autonomous, as opposed to merely her daughter, and an ‘unlikely’ extension of her.
Somewhere in there, the tangle of personal stories, and our ongoing cycle of action and reaction, began to loosen and unravel. I felt like we began meeting on a different level, and actually seeing each other for the first time.
Would you do it again either individually or together and would you recommend it for other mothers/daughters?
Trinda: The space of the weekend is always profound, of value and endlessly enriching. Of course I would recommend it both as individuals and together. It is huge.
Mallika: Yes, I have continued to take part in Gifts and circles since I first stepped into the space 20 years ago. I would whole-heartedly recommend it to all women, mothers and daughters included. For me, there is an incredible mirror that is held up each time I take part in the Gift. I see aspects of myself in each of the women present, and, in the witnessing of them, I land more deeply in acceptance and presence with myself. It feels both deeply personal and profoundly impersonal. To have the honour of experiencing this place of reflection with my mother has been an incredible gift in my life. And in another sense, this work has shown me that we are all mothers, lovers, daughters, crones, nuns, seductresses, goddesses, wisdom-keepers, and above all – sisters. Once we step into the circle, the day-to-day relationships somehow feel less relevant.
Why do you continue to support the work?
Trinda: Because it is important not just to me as an individual woman, but to the possibility in the world and to the continuing re-affirmation of the Feminine which we all know is sorely needed both inside and out. We have always said it would be good if every woman could stand just once in this space and experience herself in truth.
Mallika: Because after much personal journeying and unravelling, it’s still the deepest and clearest ‘cauldron’ or cooking pot that I have experienced! The work feels like a well I can return to and drink from – to replenish myself, to remember who I am, and to re-connect. And that in itself is a gift!
Article: Thanks to Trinda and Mallika McCarthy