One of the world’s most famous faces, Jennifer Aniston is instantly recognizable. Whether from Friends, Office Space or any glossy magazine you care to name, the star’s celebrity is, surely, universal. But despite her fame, there’s still plenty about the actor we’ve yet to learn. For instance, did you know that she takes part in a Goddess Circle? Neither did we until September 2019.
When she spilled the beans, Aniston was promoting The Morning Show, which she both stars in and produces. During an interview with the New York Times, she told a story about a recent trip that almost ended in disaster. And it was this tale that contained the incredible Goddess Circle revelations.
Earlier in 2019, Aniston and a group of her girlfriends had planned a trip to Mexico. A get-together meant to mark the actor’s 50th birthday, the women boarded the plane and settled into their journey. Not long after take-off, however, the pilot made a startling discovery. And they had to let the passengers know immediately.
The pilot then told Aniston that the plane had somehow lost a tire. And that meant they had to head back to Los Angeles immediately to attempt a landing. There was, however, a slight catch. As they couldn’t land with full fuel tanks, there would be a period of flying around to burn off the excess gas. And for the star, this situation was doubly terrifying.
Aniston, like many people, has a phobia of flying. She’s reportedly terrified by it. So spending hours, not just on a plane, but one that might also crash-land due to it’s missing tire probably wasn’t a lot of fun. Neither, we imagine, were the internet reports of the “emergency landing” she’d supposed to have endured – published while they were still in the air.
Still, the concerned messages the star received from friends probably helped keep her mind off her anxiety. Four hours later, the plane landed – safely – and the group simply boarded another, determined to continue their celebratory trip. That delay however, meant that one particular event couldn’t take place quite when it was supposed to.
According to the New York Times, that scheduled event has become something of a ritual for Aniston and her friends. It’s something they’ve been doing for 30 years now, but the star has never mentioned it before to the press. During that interview, though, the actor revealed exactly what they get up to during these get-togethers. But what is a Goddess Circle?
Based in ancient ritual, the Goddess, or Women’s Circle, is essentially a gathering of, you guessed it, women. The modern version of these events can have many meanings. But they all consist of a safe space for participants to be themselves. Traditionally, the circle convenes around a full or new moon. And there’s an interesting reason for that.
Let’s have a quick chat about menstrual cycles. Don’t worry guys, it’s not going to get icky, we promise. Historically, and for reasons we certainly can’t explain, periods were considered to be linked to the lunar cycle. Perhaps because of their monthly nature? Whatever the reason, as a result, women began gathering together around a full moon, which led to the Goddess Circle’s other name: moon lodge.
These days though, circles can convene anytime and are considered a “supportive environment” for participants, according to a June 2019 Vogue magazine piece. The article goes on to define the gathering as “a space for self reflection, […] free of judgement.” So far, it sounds like a fairly pleasant way to spend an evening. But there’s more to it than just showing up.
First, the scene must be set. This can include scented candles, soft music, mood lighting and even snacks. Alcohol, though, is a no-no. Once everyone is relaxed, the gathering begins in earnest. But it’s not a free-for-all. In addition to being a safe space, there’s also an element of ritual to “circling.” And that means there has to be a certain order to things.
Generally, the circle is led “by a facilitator,” according to Insider website. This person heads the activities that make up the events. These can include burning herbs, talking, guided meditation and singing. But the basic intention of the gathering is to connect participants to themselves and each other. Because of that, every Goddess Circle is unique. And that includes Aniston’s ceremony.
Aniston is, of course, best known for her 15-year stint on Friends, starting in 1994. Playing Rachel Green, the runaway bride-turned-savvy businesswoman, the star won awards, inspired a generation of women’s hairdos and became one of television’s highest-earning actors. And from there, it seemed that Hollywood was her oyster. But it didn’t always work out that way.
Even before Friends ended, Aniston’s movie choices were, shall we say, eclectic. She’s the One, a 1996 indie comedy received mixed reviews, but critics loved her. One even went to far as to claim that the actor “is wasted here. […] She looks great, but all she gets to do is whine and smoke.”
Aniston followed She’s the One with lead roles in modestly successful rom-coms Picture Perfect with Kevin Bacon and The Object of My Affection with future Friends alum Paul Rudd. From there, she starred in cult classic Office Space, which bombed at the box office. The actor’s next role, though, looked set to be her break-out performance.
Starring in indie dramedy The Good Girl in 2002 should’ve been Aniston’s break-out movie, launching her towards meatier roles. Playing a philandering checkout girl seemed to agree with the star – critics loved it and the film even made money. But despite all that, a Clooney-like TV-to-Hollywood transformation simply never materialized.
Indeed, for every Bruce Almighty, there’s a Rumor Has It; for every We’re the Millers, there’s a Wanderlust. Despite all Aniston’s hard work over the course of her career, one thing is clear. She rarely pleases both critics and audiences at the time same time. That is, unless she’s on TV. Then, it seems, she can do no wrong.
Take, for example, Aniston’s guest appearance on 30 Rock, playing an insane stalker. Her hilarious performance earned the star a Primetime Emmy nomination. Or the time she guest-starred on Friends co-star Courteney Cox’s show Cougar Town. One reviewer gushed, “[The cameo] highlights just how much Jennifer Aniston is built to be a TV star.”
And given the sheer number of awards and nominations Aniston has received for her TV work, it’s clear that audiences and industry-types agree. In fact, the only movie accolade the star has ever received was for 2014’s Cake. Her take on a woman living with severe pain was described as “a complete performance from beginning to end.” As a result, she was nominated for a Best Actress gong at the Golden Globes, SAGs and the Critics’ Choice Movie awards.
More recently, Aniston has seen critical success with both comedy in She’s Funny That Way and drama with The Yellow Birds.The star even dipped her toe into musical comedy with 2018’s Dumplin’. The movie marked the start of several projects with various streaming services. And in September 2019, the actor finally returned to the TV format full-time, working for Netflix’s competition.
The Morning Show, produced by and starring Aniston for Apple TV+ is her first foray into episodics in 15 years. Playing a veteran TV anchor whose male counterpart loses his job over sexual assault allegations, the star has already received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. And, as we mentioned earlier, it was while promoting the series that the star revealed her Goddess Circle proclivities.
Aniston’s interview with The New York Times appeared in September 2019. In no time at all, her Goddess Circle revelations were all over the internet. And no wonder. At first glance, it seems just soo Northern California as to be hilarious. But the star went into some details about the ceremony, and it’s not as ridiculous as you might suspect.
It seems that, after performing them for 30 years, Aniston’s Goddess ritual is well-practiced. The group of girlfriends, which can include Courteney Cox, The Morning Show co-star Andrea Bendenwald and Molly Kimmel, gather at a prearranged time, ready for their ceremony. And it all starts with a physical circle.
According to the New York Times piece, Aniston and company get comfy on plush cushions, with legs crossed, seated in a circle, before the ceremony begins. This takes place on the floor of the living room of whichever property they’re in. This time, the women were in Mexico, staying in what we can only assume is a luxurious vacation property fit for a Hollywood A-lister’s birthday.
From there, Aniston’s circle takes a slightly different approach to those we looked at earlier. For this group, the gathering is all about something called “intention-setting.” A well-known practice among Goddess Circle-types, it can reportedly help you achieve your goals, be they physical or emotional. And, it seems, there’s a good reason for that.
According to psychiatrist Michael Genovese, sharing your intentions in an open forum as Aniston does, can you give you that extra boost. As he told Shape, “By letting others in on what you’re setting out to achieve, you may find an accountability partner, motivator or cheerleader among your circle of influence.”
And that, Genovese said, can make all the difference. The psychiatrist went on, “[Those are] all hugely important support roles you’ll need on your journey to success.” Certainly, from Aniston’s point of view, intention-setting hasn’t done her any harm. But the ritual doesn’t end there.
Once seated in the circle, Aniston and the rest of the group have a very specific way of setting their intentions. Each woman takes their turn holding a talking stick, decorated with charms and feathers and made from beechwood. And the topic for this circle wasn’t just turning 50.
The Mexico trip was always planned as part of Aniston’s birthday. That is, after all, exactly the sort of big moment the group always gathers for. But in addition to the celebration, the circle convened to set out the star’s intentions for the next phase of her career. And turning 50, it seems, doesn’t seem to bother her at all, career-wise.
“There’s so much doom and gloom around that number,” Aniston told the New York Times in September 2019 regarding her recent birthday. “I’m entering into what I feel is one of the most creatively fulfilling periods of my life.” And gathering with friends earlier that year, might have helped crystallize her mindset.
Aniston’s interview with the newspaper certainly showed that positive mindset when it comes to her career. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I feel like it’s just about to really bloom.” And some of that confidence could well stem from her move back to a TV series format with The Morning Show.
This time, though, Aniston also serves as executive producer giving her much more creative control over the show. And in her role as Alex Levy, the talented and experienced journalist, it seems the star has found a part she loves. The character’s storyline, she told the New York Times, has everything, “children, guilt, power struggle, being a woman in the industry, going through a divorce, publicly going through a divorce, feeling alienated and being just a little bit of a screw-up.”
Given the award nominations The Morning Show has already received, clearly the project is a success. But during the New York Times interview, the star revealed that she had long ago made it known that she wasn’t averse to a small-screen return. “Television is not not an option for me,” the star recalled telling Games of Thrones exec Michael Ellenberg. And the career evaluation didn’t end there.
During the candid interview, Aniston revealed that she told Ellenberg, “I just want to be part of something great. I don’t care where it lands.” The star then went on to reveal her frank reasoning behind her TV u-turn. And it was surprisingly honest for a successful star.
“Because, God knows,” Aniston continued, “the movies have been great and they have been horrible, so you just don’t know.” And it was this attitude, perhaps, that led to the aforementioned collaboration with Netflix. In addition to Dumplin’, the star will produce and play joint lead in First Ladies. And the subject matter may surprise you.
Indeed, Aniston will star alongside comedian Tig Notaro as the White House’s first lesbian residents. The former Friends alum plays the Commander-in-Chief, with Notaro as her partner. The Netflix collaborations, though, don’t end there. After First Ladies comes The Goree Girls, a music-inspired project about a trailblazing all-girl country outfit. And these female-led shows are thanks, in part, to the star’s ethos when it comes to producing.
Aniston told the New York Times exactly what her company, Echo Productions, has set out to do. “Our mission statement was: Tell strong stories about strong women. Flawed, complicated, messy [women]. ‘Cause that wasn’t happening. And with this latest slate of projects, it seems as though the star is well on her way to changing the TV landscape. Not that she necessarily ascribes this success to her Goddess Circle.
“It’s taken time for me to get where I am,” Aniston told the New York Times. “I’ve put a lot of work into my craft.” In fact, the star was actually wary of the newspaper article even using the phrase “Goddess Circle.” The publication pointed out that the prospect “slightly terrified” her. The piece even quoted the actor’s doubt when she asked, “Should we just call it a circle?”
Rather, Aniston prefers to emphasize the friendship aspect of the circle. In a 2018 interview with Elle magazine, she revealed that her relationships play a big part in her levels of joy. “What brings me happiness? I have a great job, I have a great family, I have great friends.” She then quipped, “We always joke that we raised each other.”
Whether or not the Goddess Circle has any bearing on the ups and downs of Aniston’s career, she takes it all with a pinch of salt. As the star told The New York Times, “I’ve failed, I’ve succeeded, I’ve overcome. I’ve, you know, I’ve stayed around. I’m still here.” It seems that turning 50 definitely agrees with her.