Experience the healing power of communal ritual, where community includes the ancestors, the land, and our human kin.
In the absence of ritual, we often grieve in isolation, which is counter to the very blueprint of human existence.
The wisdom of communal ritual is a balm for the grief we carry.
Grieving well-- in community-- is one of the lost arts of our time. In this era of the Great Forgetting, we must search for the old ways to guide us back to becoming fully human.
Honoring our grief and sharing it with each other and the land within a ritual container has a rare, profound power. We need ritual work to help soften our hearts to our losses and bring us back to life. May we continue to pursue the ancestral lifeways that carry the wisdom of grieving well to our communities.
When I first truly grieved in a Dagara-style ritual, the entire landscape of my stagnant, decades-old-grief finally shifted. Old stuck pain finally had a space to move and flow. Ritual brought me into contact with my ancestors in a direct way. My rigid relationship with my father who had died 25 years prior finally began to thaw, allowing plenty of space for my anger, hurt, and frozen adolescent feelings to be expressed. All manifestations of grief were welcome in that space. The group field created a sense of safety within loss that I had never experienced before.
This ritual experience permanently altered my relationship to my deceased father and led to a genuine renewal of our connection.
Since then, I have witnessed countless participants of these rituals reporting similarly remarkable transformations. The elegant wisdom of this container is profound and I deeply honor and thank my teachers who have brought this medicine to this land.
Dagara-style Grief Rituals
After many years of ritual and cultural study with Dagara Elder Malidoma Somé, I have been given the blessing to offer Dagara-style Grief Rituals to the wider community.
This ritual was brought to the West by Malidoma and Sobonfu Somé, beloved Dagara elders of Burkina Faso, West Africa. A core part of Malidoma's and Sobonfu's souls' missions were to infuse the Western world with the ancestral wisdom of the Dagara--a people who understand deeply how to ritualize emotion and connect to the animate world. Their teachings aimed to alleviate many of the ills caused by modernity. Therefore, this ritual offering is not only in service to healing our own grief, but to honor the tireless hours Malidoma and Sobonfu dedicated to helping heal the Western psyche.
This form of ritual offers connection to community, to the land, to rhythm and song, to the ancestors, to our personal and collective grief. While sometimes offered in just one day, this ritual works best when it is held over the course of several days, giving the participant proper time to set aside the busyness of the modern world and contact what wisdom keeper Alan Wolfelt calls,
"the proper sorrows of the soul."
This becomes possible with a strong energetic container and the support of the village-- which includes the ancestors and the Earth beings alongside our living human community. I offer this work with humility, openness, and solidarity with BIPOC people from all walks of life.
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If your community is in need of a private grief ritual,
please reach out.
We cannot do this alone.
If your community has suffered a loss and feels a longing to come together
and grieve, I would love to help.