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A little more about the online grief space...

Agreements: 

  • Please keep your camera on and imagine we are in a shared, in-person space, present together for the full 4 hours.

  • Ensure you are in a private location where you can be your authentic self. 

  • Stay in a stationary space for the entire call (avoid being in transit or driving).

  • If others are in your home or space, please use headphones for the privacy of all attendees.

  • We invite attendees to set up their space in a way that allows for wailing during our "grief with music" portion. Arrange it in a way that feels comfortable for you, and perhaps consider placing your altar nearby as well (see below).

  • Please clear your space of all potential distractions, such as your cell phone or other electronic devices. 

  • CONFIDENTIALITY

    • Ask for permission to reference someone’s share and respect their authentic “no” or “yes”

  • Sacred Witnessing: There is no need to fix it, just witness 

  • Yes = yes, no = no, maybe = no right now 

  • Lean into resistances - Stay engaged

  • Sacred Listening - not responding to what people are sharing, whether we agree or disagree 

  • Treat each other and ourselves with grace - we will make mistakes

  • A spirit of curiosity

  • Not referencing each other in our shares, using I statements, not using each other as props 

 

History:

This ritual is inspired by many teachers, including Joanna Macy, Francis Weller, and Martin Prechtel, as well as the grief ritual brought to the West from Dano, Burkina Faso, West Africa. In the book “Of Water and the Spirit,” Malidoma Somé writes on the first few pages of his introduction: “There is no doubt that, at this time in history, Western civilization is suffering from a great sickness of the soul... My own Elders had experienced French colonialism and the culture of the West as a force that used violence as a means to eradicate traditional lifeways. They had seen their own youth stolen from them as they vainly struggled against the incursions of these intruders... It did not take long before they realized that the white man wanted nothing short of the complete destruction of their culture and even their lives...”

Malidoma (one who befriends the enemy) and Sobonfu (keeper of rituals) were sent to the West by their Elders to bring Grief ritual as an antidote to that violence. They hoped that by enabling people to confront and sit with their Grief, that perhaps the ice around our frozen hearts would begin to melt and we’d be able to see one another’s humanity again. While Joanna Macy states, "as your heart breaks open, there will be room for the world to heal," the Dagara Elders also comprehended that grieving may soften us into our shared humanity, connecting us both to the human and more-than-human world. 

 

Laurence worked closely with Francis and Malidoma in the '90s and has since facilitated communal grief rituals for hundreds of communities. ahlay has been working with Laurence since 2020 and also apprentices to the professional mourning women of Greece and Italy, the keeners of Ireland and Scotland, the Mikonenet from the Jewish tradition, as well as addressing the immense compounded grief of our times, Whales, and many others.


 

Rough idea of Bones:

  1. Housekeeping 

  2. Grounding 

  3. Opening

  4. Group Harvest

  5. 5 Gates of Grief 

  6. Triads

  7. Group Harvest

  8. Grief w/Music

  9. Triads

  10. Gratitude 

  11. Closing

 

(We will take a 10-15 minute bio break somewhere around the halfway mark).


 

Please bring:

  • Bowl of salt water

  • Candle

 

Other ideas:

  • Journal and pen

  • Altar ideas

    • Stone

    • Feather

    • Photo

    • Flowers, foliage from near your home

    • Anything that helps you connect with your grief, your ground and your longing

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