Among the gifts Sacred Groves offers are regular opportunities to be with personal and collective grief, held in a ritual container with sacred intention amongst a supportive group of women and men. For several years Therese and Tere have hosted a monthly Grief-Healing Ceremony (previously called the Wailing Ritual), and twice yearly Grief Ritual Retreats. The development of this grief work has been inspired by the ‘Despair and Empowerment’ work of Joanna Macy, the Grief Rituals offered by Sobonfu Some and our own very deep and personal experiences of grief.
Many traditional indigenous cultures hold that the ritualized sharing of grief provides a most essential “glue” for the connectedness of a community. As someone once said, “You never forget the people with whom you’ve cried.” Grieving is one of the ways we express love for what we’ve lost, and in the process helps us ground in what most deeply matters to us. Whether it be from the loss of dear ones, cherished dreams, places, communities, lost health, abilities and skills, dropping into the deep feelings of grief can be immensely restorative, particularly when witnessed, held and allowed to run its full course by an empathic and respectful community who are nourished by their mutually shared support of each other. As Sobonfu has said, “The village is the place you go to be seen.” It is this being seen for what we most deeply value that helps repair the “break in belonging,” and lets us plant the seeds of hope and renewal.
Grief-Healing Ceremony: One Friday evening each month (except March and November when we offer the 2 day Grief Ritual Retreat) we gather to honor and work with our losses. After introductions, a grounding meditation, check-ins and a vocal/body warm-up we go into the heart of the ceremony. Accompanied by steady shamanic drumming, participants open their throats to express in a wordless way what is in their hearts. Once the energy winds down we sit quietly for awhile, then share food and debriefing to ground us. Suggested donation for the evening is $25. To confirm your intention to attend, please click the “donate” button below and pay in advance. If you need to cancel, your payment will apply toward a future event.
Grief Ritual Retreat: March 2-3, 2013, November 2-3, 2013
The format of the Grief Ritual Retreat includes heart-opening talking circles, grounding meditation, and two potent rituals: a short sweatlodge for wailing and a late night ritual around a grief altar accompanied by drumming and a repetitive chant.
This retreat will be co-facilitated by Therese, Kendra Thornbury and Laurence Cole. More details about this event, click here.
More about working with grief:
Instrumental to allowing aliveness in life is taking time to release and honor emotion. For many cultures, there is no place for the expression of our grief and sadness. Yet feelings of loss and heartbreak are a fundamental part of our human experience. If the feelings are not released, they become repressed. Repressed grief becomes depression, a feeling of being ‘stuck,’ unable to access joy, laughter, even sadness.
At the Groves we believe that to be truly alive and healthy, the full range of our feelings must find safe expression. We are committed to providing a safe place for both men and women to bring their emotions so as to allow them to pass through. This expands our vitality. We offer these opportunities for those feeling acute grief from personal losses as well as those who feel grief as a result of the state of the environment, political systems, social structures and family systems of our troubled world.
For more information about these events or to set up personal grief counseling session, e-mail or call Therese.
(Note: Photo at the top of the page was taken by Victory Lonnquist)