Grief Mentoring Program with Elders Thérèse Charvet and Laurence Cole

For those already hosting grief rituals and those who aspire to….

The Sacred Groves Grief Retreat team were on track a year ago to offer a Grief Tenders Mentoring Program in 2020.  We launched it with a workshop in March.  Then the pandemic and consequent ‘shut-down’ happened.   In the aftermath, our attention went to setting up twice monthly grief tending sessions on zoom…….and all the other adjustments and anxieties of our disrupted lives.  Now, at long last, Laurence and I feel ready to offer ourselves as Elder-Mentors in the realm of grief tending, using zoom of course (since the pandemic seems to be in full-swing).  Below are more details about what we are offering.

OVERVIEW:  This mentoring program involves participating in one 2.5 hour zoom call each month for 6 months.  We envision that we will re-assess in June and consider extending the program to another 6 months if there is interest. We envision two “levels” of groups engaged in this mentoring: 

  • Experienced Grief Tenders: folks who have already hosted grief rituals of some sort who are looking for guidance from Elders as well as peer connections and support.  For this group we will offer experiences and exercises to deepen skills, conversations to discuss challenging issues that arise, and Q & A time.
  • Aspiring Grief Tenders:  This group includes those who aspire to eventually host grief rituals but have not yet done so, folks looking for guidance about the components of such rituals and the personal qualities needed to facilitate grief rituals.
  • In both cases,  the sessions will include time for participants to work with their own grief, sharing in small groups, having the experience of “moving it” using wailing, movement etc.   
  • Note: sometimes Aspiring Grief Tenders will be invited to listen in on discussions among Experienced Grief Tenders; and vice versa.

WHEN: Starting in January 2021, running through June. The Experienced Grief Tenders will meet on the third Wednesday of each month 9:30am-12noon; the Aspiring Grief Tenders will meet on the last Saturday of the month, 3pm-5:30pm. Dates for January:  Experienced:  Jan 20.  Aspiring:  Jan 30th. (Note: because of schedule issues, some experienced folks have joined the Saturday group and some aspiring folks have joined the Wednesday morning group)

COMMITMENT:  The group (“village”) experience is an important aspect of this program, so we are asking for a commitment to regular participation over 6 months. However 100% attendance is not required.   
GROUP SIZE:  We need a minimum of 6 for each level.  We will cap it at 15.  

FEES:  $300 fee for 6 months including $100 registration fee paid in January to confirm your commitment. The remaining $200 is due by February 15th. Note: we are willing to take installment payments and negotiate discounts upon request.  

More about Elders Laurence Cole and Thérèse Charvet: Thérèse and Laurence met at a Grief Retreat held by their mentor, the late Sobonfu Some, attending many ceremonies (grief retreats and others) with her in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Therese began offering Grief Rituals through Sacred Groves in 2002, with the blessing of Sobonfu and always in honor and acknowledgement of the teachings she shared from the Dagara Culture (in Burkina Faso). Laurence joined the team in 2008. For 12 years, until the pandemic changed things, the team offered Grief Ritual Retreats twice a year. Grounded” by the pandemic, they are exploring how to pass along their teachings to others via zoom at this time. Read more about Therese here.

Laurence Cole, a song elder and ritualist from Port Townsend, Washington, has been helping groups of people rediscover the healing power of grieving communally for over ten years.  Guided and inspired by the teachings of Malidoma Somé, Sobonfu Somé, Angeles Arrien, Michael Meade, James Hillman, Francis Weller,, Joanna Macy and many others, Laurence creates a safe and brave, non-judgmental space for folks to rediscover their natural human capacity for healing together, blending song, poetry, easy grounding movement, small and large group sharing, humor and connection in nature..

TO REGISTER: (or indicate your interest/intent to join), please fill out and submit the following form and pay your deposit as requested. Deadline for registering Jan 15th..

INTRODUCTORY ZOOM SESSION for more information: Wednesday Jan. 6, 1-2pm for those who would like more information before paying a deposit. If you would like to join us for this, please contact Therese ( to receive the link.