Titiane Haton ~ 2019 on a Year Apprenticeship with Azul Valerie Thome
Titiane is an apprentice Azul and SOULand. She is an apprentice to the language of Soul, to the intimacy with the land and the making of ritual in service to the beauty of Earth. She is guided by her sense of awe in the power of ritual and ceremony to bring a sense of deep intimacy with Life and amongst human beings.
As a child, she invited her parents for tea ceremonies in her bedroom. Growing up in the city, she studied urban planning and took part in an urban farm, where she first encountered the magic of compost. She went on to several farms practicing agroecology and felt the definite call to become closer to the earth as she shook under her feet one day of spring 2015.
Looking for a deeper understanding of soil and forests, she embarked on the Msc. in Holistic Science at Schumacher College. There she found a deep and intimate understanding of ecology and the sacred. Titiane and Azul met each other in the hallway of the college and since then have developed an intimate relationship infused with the growing of Souland, ritual and composting.
In times of uncertainty and feeling of a close collapse, Titiane loves dancing with other human beings upon the rocks or following squirrels in the forest.
Kristinha M. Anding is a writer, mother, women’s group leader and community organizer. She has served SOULand in both training and support roles, being involved in the Grief Composting and Returning to the Earth What is Stolen and the Life Carin for Extinct Species. initiatives. She lives in Encinitas, Calif., with her two sons.
It was the Christmas party shooting in San Bernardino, not so far from my own Southern California home, that finally broke me open. It was an event that left the 6-month-old child of the perpetrators orphaned, in addition to 16 dead, an event barely discussed in my social group because there had already been too many mass murders in America, too much loss, and we no longer knew how to hold onto much more than a headline. After dropping my children off at school, where “active shooter” drills had become as commonplace as fire preparation, I drove home and listened to radio coverage shift jauntily from the shooting to an upbeat story on holiday cooking. No, I thought, suddenly hit by the enormity of our undigested collective grief. I cannot do this anymore. I found myself on the floor of my living room wailing in pain for people I didn’t know, but realizing I was keening for us all.
A series of synchronicities put the eloquent words of Martin Precthel and Malidoma Somé in my path, and I learned how grief expressed generously in the village, a practice largely forgotten in the West, supports human maturity, belonging, resilience and compassion—qualities direly needed during our era of global cultural and ecological change. But it wasn’t until I met Azul-Valérie Thomé that I discovered beautiful, grounded steps to reclaim our fluency with this forsaken, regenerative emotion.
I participated in SOULand’s Grief Composting Circle Training in California and later supported both the training and community circle in Totnes, U.K. My involvement with SOULand has led me to hold reparative ritual on land still ravished by the legacy of gold mining in California; facilitate a local grief circle; and host an artistic community event and fire for Remembrance Day for Lost Species. My current projects include bringing a permanent memorial for extinct species to my city, planning more community circles, and allowing the mycelium of SOULand to wend its way through my writing.
I am so grateful to Azul for her offerings, which have deepened my sense of reciprocity within the web of life and brought me the courage to step more boldly—and broken-heartedly—into service.