A large part of the emerging offering of SOULand is a Journey of Initiatory Practices weaving Grief Work, Accompaniment of what is Dying in our World and the Making of the World of our Longing. One of the thread is an enlivening collaboration with Francis Weller and the 5 Gates of Grief he has offered to our world. We are just beginning the active dreaming of creating Gates within Gates... the 5 Gates of GRIEF also opening 5 Gates of INITIATORY JOURNEYS: See below for a little bit more info. This piece of Work will be opened up a little more on the 16th Oct with SOULand Exhibition & e.ART.h Workshops and our Grief Composting Circles
The First Gate of GRIEF: Everything We Love, We Will Lose – This is life’s most difficult but essential teaching: everything is a gift but nothing lasts. To accept this fact is to live on life’s terms and not try to deny the simple truth of loss. Everything that we love, we will lose; no exceptions. Grief says that I dared to love, that someone has touched my life.
PROPOSITION: Gates of INITIATION: Initiation into the mystery of Death
1 - Thanks that I can Love
The Second Gate of GRIEF: The Places That Have Not Known Love – These are the parts of us that we have wrapped in shame and banished to the farthest shores of our lives. Because we hold them in contempt and refuse to allow them the light of day, we also deny them the healing salve of community. What we perceive as defective about ourselves, we also experience as loss. But we cannot grieve for something that we define as outside the circle of worth. We are chronically sensing the presence of sorrow but are unable to truly grieve because we feel in our body that this piece of who we are is unworthy of grief. Grieving, by its very nature, confirms worth. I am worth crying over: My losses matter.
PROPOSITION: GATE of INITIATION: Initiation into the mystery of Adulthood
2 - Thanks that I can Feel my emotions
The Third Gate of GRIEF: The Sorrows of the World – Whether we consciously recognize it or not, our psyches note the daily diminishment of species, habitats and cultures. Much of the grief we carry is not personal, but communal. It is not possible to walk down the street and not feel the collective sorrows of homelessness or the sorrows of economic insanity. It takes everything we have to deny the sorrows of the world. Walking through this door brings us into the room of the great grief of the world.
PROPOSITION:GATE of INITIATION into the immutable bond with all of creation
3 - Thanks that I Belong to our world
The Fourth Gate of GRIEF: What We Expected and Did Not Receive – This entry into sorrow calls forward the things that we may never even realize we have lost. Long centuries of intimate, communal living have programmed our indigenous souls to anticipate being welcomed in the world, to experience what our ancestors knew as their birthright – the container of the village. We are born expecting a rich and sensuous relationship with the earth and communal rituals that keep us in connection with the sacred. Their absence in our lives haunts us, even if we can’t give them a name, and we feel their loss as an ache, a vague sadness. I feel perpetually in exile because I was never welcomed into the world.
PROPOSITION: GATE of INITIATION into our deep time lineage, our DNA
4 - Thanks that I Remember who we are
The Fifth Gate of GRIEF: Ancestral Grief – This is old grief we carry in our bodies from sorrows experienced by our ancestors. It also carries the weight of our abuses of the indigenous cultures on this land. This grief is so immense it is hard to reconcile. The long shadow of this violence persists in our psyches. And – whether we know it or not – we also grieve the loss of the ancestors. We no longer look to them as a source of connection with the invisible powers in the world. This loss of our connection to the land, language, imagination, rituals, songs, and stories of our ancestors has made us all homeless. Again, I am in exile because of something I cannot even name.
PROPOSITION: GATE of INITIATION into our Elderhood
5 - Thanks that I can Restore who I come from
There is still 2 months to the time when I will present an eARTh Installation on these new 5 Gates and a paper of this work to Schumacher College as part of my Masters Thesis. I am curious to see what will present itself. Meanwhile jin us on the 16th Oct for a preview and an exhibition.
River of Words and Images by Azul Thomé: