Center Of The Circle
New Sacred Branch Bookstore hopes to fulfill women's spiritual and artistic dreams.
Thursday, February 22, 2001
Monterey area women gained a new place to gather with the opening of the Sacred Branch Bookstore in Pacific Grove earlier this month. The new store is located just adjacent to Bookworks and is owned and operated by Bookworks owner Esther Hicks. It will focus its inventory on books and gifts related to health and spirituality.
Hicks also hopes to see her new store become a central meeting place for community members who wish to explore alternative approaches to western philosophies, and her plan includes establishing a special meeting space for women.
"We want to create a safe haven for women to come together and share their stories and learn from one another," explains Dana Reynolds, who is working with Hicks on a voluntary basis to "birth" the center.
An author of two books on women''s spirituality, Reynolds has been facilitating women''s retreats for the last 10 years and jumped at the chance to work with Hicks. The women''s circle she belongs to in Carmel, she explains, always dreamed of having a meeting space but had no money to fulfill the vision.
Reynolds sees the bookstore as providing a place not only for women''s groups to meet, but also a place where these groups can find each other. "I encourage other circles of women in the community to come and explore the potential of using this space," she says, emphasizing that the center will need input and participation from a wide variety of women if it is to really take off.
"The women who have never stepped out and explored their creativity, this is a place for them," Reynolds says. "I think our imaginations here on the Peninsula are so much more than what is being brought forth, and part of the problem is the need for a common meeting space. I want to call on all the creativity out there."
Reynolds hopes to see the center become a "real working atelier," and she and Hicks already have planned a variety of activities, including workshops on journal keeping and other forms of artistic expression. A monthly calendar will be made available at the bookstore and women will be asked to sign up for workshops in advance to ensure that each group remain small--not more than about 12 women.
Reynolds says that she sees a lot of women who are afraid to step forward and answer their callings. The way many women get over this hump, she explains, is with the support of other women. "It''s empowering to be in a circle of women," she says. She also believes that "the old patriarchal ways" of our society are beginning to shift but that the only way for a real change to occur is for "women to really own their gifts." She hopes the center will be a place where that will happen.