Grief Support

“There are those that are not frightened of grief: dropping deep into the sorrow, they find therein a necessary elixir to the numbness. When they encounter one another, when they press their foreheads against the bark of a centuries-old tree…their eyes well with tears that fall easily to the ground. The soil needs this water. Grief is but a gate, and our tears a kind of key opening a place of wonder thats been locked away. Suddenly we notice a sustaining resonance between the drumming heart within our chest and the pulse rising from the ground” – David Abram

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.  We have hosted evening Wailing Rituals off and on for many years. Prior to COVID shut downs we hosted 2 day Grief Ritual Retreats at the Groves twice a year. Since then we have offered one-day grief rituals.   

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 and our own very deep, personal experiences of grief.

Many traditional indigenous cultures hold that the ritualized sharing of grief provides an essential “glue” for the connectedness of a community. 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 empathetic and respectful community who are nourished by their mutually shared support of each other. As Sobonfu Some 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 Rituals Autumn 2022  

Evening “Wailing Ritual”  October 22nd, 6-10pm. Read more here. 

Grief Ritual at Sacred Groves: November 12, 9am – 9pm  Read more 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.

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.

Other Resources for Grief Work:

**Francis Weller published an excellent book about grief: “The Wild Edge of Sorrow; Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief.” Francis learned grief ritual from Malidoma Some (Sobonfu’s Some’s husband) so his teachings are in alignment with what we offer here at Sacred Groves.
**Megan Devine’s book “It’s OK That You are Not OK” is an excellent resource for those who have experienced the sudden loss of a beloved.
**Martin Prechtel’s book “The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise” shares his perspective on grief and all he learned from the culture in Central America where he mentored for many years. In addition, he made an audio recording called “Grief and Praise,” available by clicking here
**Stephen Jenkinson (of the film “Griefwalker”) speaks and writes eloquently on the topic of grief.  See his website:   for some good interviews with him on video.
**Another interview that will help prepare you is “Of Grief and Reverence,” available at this link:
**There are some interesting TED talks about grief.  Here’s one called “Against Grieving in Silence.”

crown of the Grief Shrine–calling-in the ancestors with beauty