Transforming Grief into Gratitude

We have been in dialogue about hosting a special retreat here at the Mount of Oaks for several months. A dear friend of MoO, Hajo Muller visited in the Autumn and shared about his experience of having taken part in a grief ritual in the North of England, hosted by Kedar S. Brown. Barbara and I were intrigued as he shared about the transformational experience – and began to discern if this was something that could be hosted at here…

Many emails, conversations, a zoom chat later, and we are happy to announce the dates for the Grief and Gratitude Ritual – over the Autumn Equinox – 19-22nd September.

Folks are asked to arrive on the afternoon of 19th, in order to set up tents and be ready for the beginning of the processes. The closing will be 12 noon on the Sunday.

Why do we feel it important to host this ritual at this time?

For us personally we experience all sorts of grief, from the loss of our biological fathers, to the losses of biodiversity or deep connections to culture or traditional skills… we have been drawn to the work of Kedar for a number of reasons.

Here is what he has to say about grief…

‘For many of us, the residues of grief remain in that silent territory of isolation; an inconvenience to the demands and pace of the life we find ourselves in, waiting for a shared acknowledgment and invitation that often does not arrive.
Grief is a natural gift of the human condition, guiding us toward healing, reconciliation and forgiveness. In time it can open a deep well of gratitude connecting us more heart-fully to those we love.

If we have lived into adulthood, we have certainly experienced pain in our lives: death, relationship crises, emotional and physical traumas, trans-generation loss and displacement, divorce, broken dreams, destruction of our natural habitats and species, loss of old friends and developmental transitions of aging.

In indigenous life, grief is often viewed as a necessary conduit for assisting the dead to the realm of the ancestors. It is in ritual that deep expressions of grief provide a river for loved ones to travel to the other-side. If we do not offer our tears they may not get to where they need to go and some of us may get pulled in with them. Unexpressed grief can settle into our psyche or subconscious mind traveling as a silent ghost through family generations smothering joy, creativity and our ability to connect with others.’

During the weekend we will deepen our connection to the natural world, gather and share the stories of grief from our lives and bring them together in ritual space for respect, honoring and release.

This Indigenous African Grief Ritual offers a soul cleansing rite to release grief, lighten our soul and let our true spirit be heard, deepening our sense of balance and fulfillment. From the indigenous perspective, grief is not only for the living community, it is also a source of sustenance for and connection to the ancestors. Our communal tears will flow as a river from this world to the other as an offering that activates connection and healing in both worlds.

“The Well of Grief”
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface of the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown away by those
who wished for something else”. — David Whyte

This retreat includes:

  • Indigenous African Grief Ritual
  • Drumming, Movement, Poetry
  • Four Seasonal Shields of Initiation
  • Shamanic Healing Methods
  • Healing For Life Transitions/Crisis
  • Song, Music and Village Life
  • Personal Myth Making and Story Telling
  • Healing Ancestral Traumas
  • Holding Ritual Space
  • Honoring Grief

If you are interested in finding out more information, please drop an email. We are seeking to have a group of at least 20 people taking part.