Grief Rituals

Summer Grief Ritual –a one-day outdoor ritual

July 15, 2023, 10am – 8pm (ish) 

Co-Facilitated by Thérèse and Tere, Laurence Cole,  Mary Hart, Siena Tenesci

NOTE:  As of June 2nd, this ritual is filled up.  If you would like to attend, please fill out this form to be on the waitlist.

This gathering is an opportunity to support each other to feel and express our emotions deeply, while being witnessed and held in the basket of community ritual.  Because there are so few places in this culture where we can release our strong emotions, many of us find ourselves alone with our grief all too often. At this ritual, your tears and heart-ache are welcome.

The day will include establishing our sacred space, talking circles, singing, poetry, movement, ceremony, sharing food and quiet time. The heart of the retreat is a grief ritual, accompanied by African drumming and chanting, a tradition brought to the West by Malidoma and Sobonfu Some.  Therese and Laurence were both blessed to experience a number of grief rituals with them, healed and inspired by the teachings and ritual they brought from their village in Burkina Faso. Their influence is an important foundation for our grief rituals, but we have adapted and integrated other modalities as well. 

The spiritual framework for this ritual includes time-honored and earth based modalities such as invoking the energies of the 7 directions, utilizing the power of drumming and chanting, the belief that the natural world is a rich place of inter-connection with “all our relations,” and the importance of working with the unseen realms, including our ancestors.

Timeframe:  We will have our opening circle at 10am and will bring closure to the day somewhere between 8 and 10pm.  Everyone is expected to arrive on time and stay through the end. 

Food:  We haven’t yet worked out the details about lunch and dinner, but meals will be some combination of “bring your own” and food provided. More information will be provided in the prep info sent out beforehand.

Lodging on Bainbridge Island: Sacred Groves does not have accommodations for people to stay overnight Friday or Saturday.  Folks coming from a distance are encouraged to arrange lodging through AirBnB or at one of many inns and motels on Bainbridge.

Fees (i.e. energy exchange)  $175.  Payment plans and partial scholarships are available.

This ritual is filled at this point. If you would like to attend, please fill out this form to be on the waitlist.

Refund Policy:

  • If you cancel anytime before 1 week prior to the retreat for any reason, we retain $50 as a “handling fee.”
  • If you cancel less than a week prior to the retreat, we will retain a minimum $100. If someone from the waitlist fills your spot, we will refund the balance of your payment. If not, there will be no refund.  

COVID Protocol:  We are holding this ritual outdoors and are not requiring masking or testing.  

Questions? Please email Mary (

For other options for Grief Support, check out this webpage. 


left-to-right: Laurence, Therese, Tere and Mary

Facilitators: Our “Grief Tending Team” includes 4 of us who have been involved in grief  rituals here at Sacred Groves and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest for many years.  Each brings unique gifts to the group.

Thérèse Charvet is the founder of Sacred Groves and has lived on this land since 1977. She began leading grief rituals in 2002 after attending several grief rituals with her mentor Sobonfu Some.

Tere Carranza came to Sacred Groves is 2004 and has offered her big heart, delicious cooking and wonderful support to grief rituals here since then.  To read more about Thérèse and Tere, click here. 

Laurence Cole is a well-known song leader and respected elder with long involvement in grief work, men’s work, and many other aspects of healing and enlivening the human spirit. He and Thérèse met at a grief retreat held by Sobonfu Some in 1997. He has been co-facilitating Grief Retreats with Thérèse and Tere since 2009. In addition, he has been offering a ritual called “Grief Song,” at singing events and facilitating grief rituals at various places around the country for the past 8 years.

Mary Hart brings her commitment to authenticity, vulnerability and transformation to the team. She is trained in Internal Family Systems therapy, Hakomi therapy, workshop facilitation, The Wheel of Consent and is a personal coach.  In 2014, she was introduced to Grief Ritual and began mentoring with Therese Chavret, Tere Carraza and Laurence Cole.  Since then, she has helped to create and facilitate many healing rituals. She has sought and studied with many great teachers and has been inspired by the work of Sobonfu Some, Richard Schwartz, Krishna Das, Stephen Levine, Jon Kabbat Zin, Francis Weller, and many others.

Honoring our Teachers

Thérèse wants to acknowledge and express her deep gratitude to Sobonfu Some who was her most significant teacher as regards grief ritual. Thérèse was blessed to drum with and participate in a number of rituals with her between 1993 and 2013.  Although Sobonfu no longer walks on this earth, her work and her teachings from the Dagara tribe in Burkina Faso live on in the grief rituals held at Sacred Groves (and elsewhere.) The development of this grief work has also been inspired by the ‘Despair and Empowerment’ work of Joanna Macy, by the work of Frances Weller (who also learned about grief rituals from the Some’s) and from our own personal journeys with grief.