Once a month on Friday evenings, when the full moon is high in the sky, a group of Hudson Valleyites flocks to Beacon for a Full Moon Circle. Throughout the night, attendees share teas and elixirs, reflect on their lives, and envision the month to come.
“A lot of planning goes into creating the circles based on the Farmer’s Almanac Moon theme, the astrological moon signs, and the overall feeling of the month or season,” explain Alyia Cutler and Meghan Conway. As founders of Wyld Womyn, the Dutchess County space at which the Full Moon Circles are held, the two make every effort to ensure that attendees feel comfortable, open, and relaxed as they reflect upon the new month. “It’s a beautiful and healing evening and always attracts a vibrant community.”
The Full Moon Circles may be the most popular event at Wyld Womyn, but they’re far from the only attraction at the Beacon venue, which has been operating in the Hudson Valley since January 2018. As a community-focused and judgement-free space, the center makes a multi-pronged effort to support and empower the Hudson Valley’s community of self-identified women, trans, non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals. To do so, Conway and Cutler offer a variety of programming and support groups, as well as doula services, childbirth education, and private yoga.
“There is a community here, both born and raised and new(ish) ‘transplants’ that are looking for a place that caters to their needs either in a spiritual, emotional, social, or intellectual capacity,” Conway and Cutler observe. On that spectrum of residents, the two women fall somewhere in the middle. They were both born and raised in the Hudson Valley (Conway in Poughkeepsie and Cutler in Mahopac), but they didn’t begin practicing as doulas until they each moved to Brooklyn.
“We practiced as solo doulas until we both moved to Beacon three and a half years ago and partnered shortly after,” they explain. Cutler, who began her work as a doula eight years ago in an attempt to combine women’s health and art, returned to the Hudson Valley after the birth of her first child. Conway, meanwhile, chose to retreat to Beacon to embrace slow living and be closer to family. She first transitioned into birth work after teaching prenatal yoga and working largely with pregnant individuals.
At Wyld Womyn, Conway and Cutler forge a space that is open, educational, and endlessly inspiring. Thanks to their workshops and unique calendar of events, they carve a unique niche within the Hudson Valley’s alternative wellness community. Throughout it all, they place key emphasis on doula work so as to increase awareness about their services throughout the region.
“Our birth and postpartum doula support is a critical piece of the work we do,” they say, noting that their emphasis is on becoming community doulas instead of “traditional” ones. “Supporting people as they grow their family is a privilege for us and translates into other avenues of our work.”
As for those other avenues, the duo is quick to break down old-school concepts like mom groups to attract modern families who seek alternative, personalized health and wellness. In their Feeding With Love program, for instance, they offer communal workshops to new and recent parents and caregivers to instruct on the variety of ways to feed babies. Language is inclusive, intentional, and always welcoming.
“We respect and acknowledge preferred pronouns, diverse and ‘non-traditional’ family structures, and exploring and curious people,” they note.
In addition to assisting with pregnancies and parenthood, Wyld Womyn extends its classes to the younger generation with its Little Wyld Wytches series. A four-week program, it invites children in kindergarten through fifth grade to craft and learn in an open, safe environment through which the youths can explore their identities and interests.
Although Wyld Womyn is still relatively new in the Hudson Valley, it has already developed meaningful relationships with local brands and businesses. Over the past year, Conway and Cutler partnered with SallyeAnder in Beacon to design a 100-percent organic, vegan, and plant-based personal lubricant and massage oil called Wyld Lube. Tying in with this, the duo also debuted an organic herbal line, which they named WyldCraft Herbal.
“Over the next year we plan to continue providing the Hudson Valley with thought-provoking, stimulating programming and workshops, beautiful herbal remedies, birth and postpartum doula support, and sex and body-positive programming,” they reveal. “Supporting our community and holding space for their life transitions is paramount to our mission, and we plan to continue doing that as long as we can!”