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Rituals of Renewal

January 6 @ 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Where there is love there is grief and where there is grief there is love
"...The real madness of our world is that we are not on our knees daily, clawing at the earth and howling to the stars in our grief. Instead we carry on business as usual as though nothing is wrong..."

Love and Grief cannot be separated

Love is the much needed medicine of our time and a return to the wisdom of the heart and to the intelligence of our feeling nature. Love and grief are like the 2 wings of the bird, their collaboration and balance is how it flies with grace and power. If we want to find the freedom to love without fear we must find the courage to grieve.

Deep inside the round EarthLodge dwelling into the side of the hill with the firelight to see and sheepskins for comfort, we will find our way into the beauty of the darkness and the treasures it holds.

I have heard the call, each day so many of us feeling grief and the backlog building up within us from a lifetime of turning away from. As we witness and experience such loss and suffering on earth how could we not feel immense grief and heartbreak. Loss of loved ones, the destruction of the natural world, cultural systems that do not support and care for life in a balanced way, war and poverty in so many ways, spiritually, physically and emotionally.

It takes courage to feel grief and it is one of the deepest forms of soul work we can do. It is more than therapy and working with the psychological wounds, it is work that goes beyond what makes much sense and cannot be organised. It is feral and wild like moving water. most of us would rather turn away and find instead ways to avoid it or numb it out. Like shopping, eating, recreational drugs, medication, distracting activities, social media etc, the list is long. How can we find the courage to grief without collapsing into guilt or shame or turn away from it for fear we will drown and never come back.  And more importantly how can we find the courage to allow others to hold us in our grief. When we can let the river of grief within us flow and experience others as banks to our river something alchemical happens as it takes us further than we can go by ourselves.

“….There are many ways grief is felt. It is not just the sorrowful tender tears that come in those quiet moments. Grief is feral and it asks us to lay our soul bare, to strip back to the bones, to surrender control, she will not be negotiated or tamed. It can arrive as anger, fear, sadness, guilt, apathy, despair, numbness, powerlessness and hopelessness. And when we are witnessed and validated, acknowledged and held in loving empathic heart presence a level of healing occurs that is deeply and profoundly freeing……”

Stephen Jenkinson

The 6 Sacred Gates of Grief

Frances Weller’s 6 gates of grief as described below are a potent teaching of how grief can come from any aspect of our experience of life, all gates lead to others, it’s just about which gate we are most feeling and stepping through, there we may well discover that once in the river many of the flood gates open.

GATE 1. Everything we love we will lose
This grief is the one that many of us enter grief through, when we lose a loved one, whether that be a person or a pet. It is the only grief culturely that is ‘permitted’ and then only for a short while, until we can ‘get back to normal’

GATE 2:What we expected but did not receive
Arriving into an already broken world, our soul knew we where meant to arrive into a family and wider circle of people who’s task it was to lift us up and keep us safe and help us find our unique shape in the world and bring our gifts. To not shame us in any way. To know we are of the land and from the land.

GATE 3: Sorrows of the natural world
The is about the wider field of grief for all that has and still is happening to our earth, whether that is close in our lives or something far away that is hard to connect to. We feel it anyways, but might not realise it. Some of us feel it accutely.

GATE 4: Places that have not known love
The places within us that have been exiled and unloved due to how we where raised. The parts of us that we feel shame about that do not feel loved or accepted.

GATE 5: Ancestral grief
Feeling the grief that exists within our bodies of the hurt and harm in the lines of our ancestors behind us, that the pain we feel is not only from our own lives but from the lineage of harm in cultures across the world.

GATE 6: Harm we have caused
The grief is connected to the inability to love ourselves, for the inner critic within us. Also for the regret we may feel about having hurt others, intentionally or otherwise in the course of our lives.

 

An online grief ceremony that was held in the EarthLodge during lock down. 

Dakini speaks 

My friends, lets grow up.
Lets stop pretending we don’t know the deal here.
Or if we truly haven’t noticed, lets wake up and notice.
Look: everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It’s simple – How could we of missed it for so long?
Lets grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings,
But please, lets not be so shocked by them.
Lets not act so betrayed,
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life’s ONLY promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To the child in us she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion exquisitely precise:
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride-lets give ourselves to it!
Lets stop making deals for a safe passage:
There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore.
The true human adult loves everything even though it’ll be lost
So lets dance the wild dance of surrender

Jennifer Welwood

How it works and the space

I have been holding grief ceremonies for many years and have trained with Joanna Macy, Sobonfu Some and Frances Weller. Other inspirations and teaches that I seek to learn from in Martín Prechtel and Steven Levine.

The ritual is  held in the EarthLodge on the land here at EarthHeart. This is a natural building sitting low to the ground, made of earth and wood. There are sheepskins on the floor and firelight for vision. The ritual is held in virtual darkness and allow space for people to grieve in their own way. Sometimes the ceremonies will be from the keening traditions of these lands and some will be with an alter and space to be held in the arms of the circle. 
There is no prescribed way to grieve, each person will be honoured in their unique way.

This is not a space for political debate or debate of any kind about what is or is not happening in the world. This is a space where we will be invited to feel and allow grief to flow. There may be sounds and words from the heart but it is essentially a non speaking space. 

The actual ritual last about 2 hours and if you have travelled from afar there is the option to sleep over in the communal temple space or you can stay a campervan if you have one.

 

 

“…grief is subversive, undermining our society’s quiet agreement that we will behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviours of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul’. 

Francis Weller

 

Jewels speaks to Interfaith Minister Reverend Helen James about her work at EarthHeart.

Logistics

Dates
6th January 2024  

Timings
6 -11pm
Arrival is from 5pm and at the latest 5.45pm. The doors will close at 5.45pm sharp and there will be strictly no entry after this point for ANY reason and no refunds.

Venue
EarthHeart Forest of Dean, GL14 3JQ.

Staying at EarthHeart
If you are travelling from afar you are welcome to park your campervan up in the car park. if you are a hardened camper you are welcome to put up a tent for the night on our eco campsite for £5 for the night. There is a water tap and a compost loo for you to use.

You can also indoor camp on the floor of the Forest temple space with your own sleeping bag and roll mat you are welcome and this is £12 for the night. You need to bring your own simple breakfast with you, there is a tea station and hot water.

Cost
£55 Standard Ticket
Spaces are limited to 24 people only, we advise booking early.

Booking policy

Please read our cancellation and booking policy before booking your place so you are making an informed choice.

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