Back to All Events

Grief, Grace and Gratitude

  • Indianola, WA United States (map)

Grief Tending Council and Sweat Lodge Ceremony. 

There are many gateways to grief; the name we give to the overwhelming and traumatic dissolution of our identity, a profound experience of losing something so precious and central to our lives we don't know how we will continue to live without it.

We rightly fear we may not recover from these losses. And yet if we are able to meet these inevitable losses fully, they can become a reminder of our own vulnerability and eventually the preciousness of life itself. 

Friday Evening - Will provide the opportunity to gather informally. This is a time and place to ask questions ahead of Saturday and Sunday. We shall also use Friday evening to consider any specific needs and wants of the people gathered. This will help shape the intentions for Saturday's and Sunday's rituals and ceremony's.  

You are invited to attend Friday evening to share food, ask questions and feel into how you may wish to participate on Saturday and Sunday.   

Saturday - We will gather in the morning. Paul Howell will open a Grief Council and guide personal journeys of enquiry, including time on the land. We shall consider the radical invitation Grief  extends toward growth, healing and transformation, both personally and collectively.

Attending on Saturday morning will be taken as a commitment to remain until Sunday.  

Sunday - As we are each called in our own ways, we move into creating the sweat lodge ceremony. Carolyn Hartness will lead this ceremony assisted by two others. Carolyn comes from a very strong lineage of ritual elders and has been holding ceremony for several decades. We will spend the full day together holding this sacred healing space. In the evening, everyone is invited to share food in celebration.

NB - This is not a workshop. It is a powerful grief tending ceremony. People will be asked to contribute to the event as they feel called. This will be discussed on Friday evening and more information will be sent to those who enquire by email (see contact page).

The space will be created and held by those named here, however the nature of the event will require full participation from all attending.   Places are limited and filling. 

Please email / FB message me ffi.


There are three primary gateways to grief; all equally capable of bringing us to our knees and equally charged with transformational power. 

- the grief we experience when we lose something precious: a partner, child, lover, our health, our work, our lives and anything or anyone that serves as a keystone of our core identity as we know it in the present moment.

- the grief of realising that we will not achieve / have / experience what we dreamed of...our fantasies are illuminated and in rushes the loss of a cherished future. We will not become the person we hoped to become, nor live the life our imagination promised. 

- the grief we experience when we look back across our lives and see the lack we've been carrying all along; how we've placed distorting armour around an ancient wound and how our attempts to compensate for that which we 'should' have had but did not receive: the love of a parent, the longed for sibling, the education, stable secure home...have led us from our true destiny. 

And so we are called to undergo the experience of surrendering our delusions and accepting our fate as mere humans and perhaps in doing so are returned to our true essential nature.

When we surrender into this fierce embrace in the presence of a compassionate witness we find ourselves anew...fully present to the profound beauty of our lives in new and unexpected ways. 

Please go to 'Musings' and read my blog post 'On Grief'.

In Blackwater Woods - Mary Oliver.

Look, the trees

are turning

their own bodies

into pillars


of light,

are giving off the rich

fragrance of cinnamon

and fulfillment,


the long tapers

of cattails

are bursting and floating away over

the blue shoulders


of the ponds,

and every pond,

no matter what its

name is, is


nameless now.

Every year


I have ever learned


in my lifetime

leads back to this: the fires

and the black river of loss

whose other side


is salvation,

whose meaning

none of us will ever know.

To live in this world


you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it


against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it


to let it go.