So modern people are not bad or lost. They are stuck in a blast furnace of banality where all of that technology and so-called advancement have been purchased at the price of losing the most basic of human prerogatives: the art of being deliciously out of control to grieve their dead. It is a terrible source of grief in itself not to be able to grieve ~Martin Prechtel, The Smell of Rain on Dust~
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Rilke
“Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.”
“If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly.” Andrew Harvey
Both Levels are taught by Azul-Valerie Thome ~ M.A : eARTh of Grieving Collectively as if Life and Death really Mattered.
Grief Composting and SOULand ‘s work invite you to step into darkness and into the transmuting alchemy of Compost, we create sacred spaces of great beauty held and blessed by our living world and our 2000 generation of ancestry.
Azul’s interest is Grief as an initiatory practice to mature us as human beings. She follows the dynamic current of Soul. The Message of Water is her guide. Her question: If we do not have much time as a species how do we become blessed people who can make amend and restore our Earth in a sacred gesture of gratitude before leaving?
To lean into our grief, our love, our death and our possible extinction is an epic initiation into perhaps becoming true human beings...
INSPIRATION is woven FROM an animist way of relating to Life as well as ~ Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects & the Truth Mandala (to be found in the Spiral) ~ Sobonfu Some’s work on Collective Grief Ritual for the Village and Ancestral work~ Francis Weller’s work on the 5 Gates of Grief~
WHO is it FOR
For men and women who are ripening, inter-connected, courageous and called for this sacred work of grief and fierce love. If you are not from Totnes it is best if you come with someone of your community to increase your resilience and capacity to offer this work.
For men and women who are already engaged and woven into their community and have tasted the sacred work of grief and have a solid personal soul & spiritual practice.
For women and men who are already practitioners, professionals, social workers, community leaders and Circle holders
~ who want to learn of a deep reconnecting Earth Centered practice of holding circles.
~ who want to learn how to hold a Grief Composting and SOULand to support their community/ group/organisation/family to contain and release their grief collectively for the well being of all of Life.
~ who are personally ready to mature and wake up to the world we have been born and fully engage with our transmuting and initiatory world.
To skill people up into the sacred work of collective grief and to activate the vision of a mycelium of Grief Composting Circle Holders all over our collapsing and en-hinged world.
To grow, strengthen and nurture a supportive community network that offers regular (ideally monthly) collective spaces of strong and sacred beauty to witness, contain then release our sorrow, rage, fears and pain, to restore and return to a deeper engagement with our lives and with Life.
For the awakening, the resilience and the maturity of our species in these extremely turbulent times.
To engage again in conversations with Grief, Love, Death, Extinction and Rebirth on Earth for all.
To return to our belonging to all of life.
Please return filled in by the 7th January 2019. Each part of the GC Apprenticeship is limited to 15 people. Thank you!
‘If we are not first heartbroken by what is happening to our planet, the earth community, the people we love, and ourselves, all other forms of preparation for our daunting future are quite simply, incidental. The collapse of industrial civilization will result in unimaginable loss of life, and those who survive will either become bigger people, or they will be emotionally and spiritually decimated. The heart, not the head, determines the outcome of that reality.’ Carolyn Baker
“Grief requires of us that we know what time we’re in. And the great enemy of grief is hope. The basic proposition of hope is: you hope for something that ain’t. You don’t hope for something that is. It’s always future oriented, which means, hope is inherently intolerable of the present. The present is never good enough. Our time requires of us to be hope free. To burn through the false choice between hopeful and hopeless… it’s the same con job. We don’t require hope to proceed. We require grief to proceed.” Stephen Jenkinson
Testimony of a trainee: Azul brings her bundle of medicine and weaves even trainings into ritual space. A true emissary of Water, she moves fluidly through a depth of knowledge, sharing the wisdoms of her teachers as well as her own gorgeous gifts to the sacred work of grief: the alchemy of compost, the generative nature of darkness, the beauty of art. I felt such gratitude for this offering and how fully she embodied each moment as both guide and participant.
Thank you all who have had the calling and the courage to court with Grief, Death, Love and reBirth this weekend . Here is some of their words: Food and balm for my soul and for SOULand <3
Dear SOULand thank you for arising through Azul and for her integrity in passing on this wisdom as it grows and for her to be willing to stay in the fire even when it burns and keep sharing at it grows and reshapes.
This is a living teaching that is alive because of the willingness to embrace the dead.
I loved the giving of ritual through experience and in that way I can take it all in its pieces and add it to my other pieces that will become an offering to the healing of humanity.
This is empowers rather than given a format to reproduce. As I experience each ritual, I can make it my own and share it from that place of knowing and learning.
Thank you Azul for demonstrating humility in the face of criticisms and showing me the strength of staying true to the teachings and to the trees and ancestors who are guiding you.
This sharing is deep, raw and visceral. It inspires me to take ma raw passion tempered by listening to the guidance of nature, out in tot he world, however, it shows up... with honesty and love. I hear that action needs to be taken and I will. I am acting in deep love.
The world, no not the World. Society today can feel barren and bleak, empty and dry
SOULand brings to my life a rich, raw, real, fertile place of belonging
A place my soul can be heard, can land in safety and truth ~ Gratitude and Grief Alchemy
We are coming home what it really means to be human _ fully feeling, fully living, fully loving, fully here on this Earth with all its beauty, grief and gratitude woven in with all our relatives of all kind.
Re-membering - becoming once more attentive members of life community.
The depth fo your offerings blows me away . Please keep walking that walk with us, following spirit and being the pioneer of life and death that you are
Thank you and deep bows from my soul to yours. Nikki <3
Who would have thought that there could be so much joy in grief?
The witnessing and honouring of a being in their pure, raw unadulterated expression of deepest sorrow and grief touches in a way that inspires deeper connection to all of creation and a re-membering of all shadow parts that we don't dare to share but that may be so welcome when we do.
What a privilege. I am so grateful, I needed to call to step in & do this work.
I am coming home to my village. I am part of a work that is moving the tectonic plates of the Earth. Here is a key that is crucial in humanities journey of restoration of the old ways. The ways that make sense, the ways that serve life and honour life and our place in this sacred web. Like Water for my Soul.
A thousand thank yous for opening the precious and essential doorway to grief, this prayer of longing and love to the world. This thread is deeply needed, like medicine for a starved soul. Deep in my body and the wider body of the land, these tears you invite replenish and refertilises a wasteland. Thank you for weaving me back into the web of belonging
SOULand of golden-lit branches. SOULand of moist dark soil.
I commit to wake up again and again.
Wake up and see all the colours of emotion you wake in my skin.
I commit to dive into the dark.
I commit to wash myself with sorrow.
To grow the seeds of your soul into my branches.
Keep responding, keep the center, keep watching, keep in touch, keep the old, keep re-birthing into new. Something happened that was good for me, and good for those I help, this weekend. I refuse to gush. But I am with your sincere keeping on. Abraha
On the path towards my resilience, you initiated my inner child and all the parts of me which needed strength, holding me
SOULand you are compost for the soul, you help me alchemise all that moves my guts and transform it into fertile ground, making it a gift for the future to come.
SOULand thanks for keeping me alive and fierce, for hearing the drums of death next to the songs of love.
You reminded me how brave I am, how rituals and connexion to other beings are our deepest true nature, how ancestors and guides will support us in the darkness.
Thousand times thanks and my heart blessings
The shimmering attracted me
The shy glint caught my eye
then I finally drew back the veil
Into a world I had longed for,
longer than I can say
longer than my ancestors can say
we all came in together
Mycelium, sky, water, soil, feathers, bees, stones, trees, webs, baskets, beetles, flys, bears, fish, elephants, stags, cats of Africa.
Together we declared our love, in tears, anger, laughter, rage, mysterious silence, song, drum, beauty.
We loved hard and deep and the bees
wove us together with a golden
thread of their hybrid honey
We feasted and now we go to feed,.
SOULand is the place of our longing
After 3 days of ritual and teaching, it is evident how this place is a co-creation of our weaving. I am heartened to feel the strength of men and women growing in their maturity to welcome grief, gratitude, death and re-brith back into the fire of their homes and communities.
The village needs the village fire, and I have seen how we can welcome it. I have seen how all beings welcome it - the human and non-human, the ancestors. This fire is needed. The Earth calls it. I remember
“ You are creating a village for me to enter safely into and receive what I expect to receive.
To know before my birth that there are sane humans out there on Earth. You are teaching me to grieve, to laugh, to cry, that I am safe to be heard, to be courageous, that my life is worth being honoured and cared for. I am a messenger of hope, the dawn before the dark. I will be a man of the new time. “ <3 Baby the unborn yet... ( in Ayla’s womb at 6 and a half months)
We find our souls in natures bounty ~ we feel fragmented but we find ourselves in all the parts, flowers, trees, rivers, animals. Like the great work of soul alchemy- we bring this weaving into the golden thread, reconnecting with all of life - in homeopathic vibrations of spirit animals or through diving in fully to river gushing.
There can be blockages on this path of reconnection to our soul nature as they are one Grief. In the way we know best we dive into this grief
There are layers upon layers from all angles
As grief’s tears break the dams of blocks in our hearts, our beings, our souls
open to pairs gift-love
A love under and deeper and more blessed than we can ever imagine.
A joy that we can feel our tribe, our village
I can hear them singing the most beautiful ancestral symphony in the wild hills of the land i belong to