"Thank you SOULand for turning your gentle light onto long forgotten place and spaces which were desolate and ghost like within me. " Apprentice
"The strong, robust and respectful container you wove created a space for me to express my grief in all its wild forms. I love that.
More voices ~ What did some of the Apprentices say after the first level of Apprenticeship to Soul and Grief Composting this March? They were invited to write a letter to SOULand...
It’s as if I took the long road back to this place and though this journey was long, the calling was longer.
Without knowing it fully, I have been carrying this place in my bones for a very long time and so I was welcomed back, back into the loving arms of my sorrow, my grief, my loss, my darkness and all of this I have felt from others also.
I was weary of carrying such burdens alone.
I went through forests of fear and disillusionment for decades. I fell into despair and thought it was my “sickness” to bear alone. To have my love and grief turned into sickness was another grief in and of itself. That shame around these precious truths almost persuaded me to take my own life.
And now, here in this village. I come to know a family of hearts, a container for my deep truths and I am witnessed, held, praised and loved for them.
Now I can find myself a home in a land between, the valley of death and the illusion of the world around me. Another continent is rising out of the sea and on it is this plateau, this safe haven island, village. It is a place where I can hold my hands out and in one hand hold the darkness and the other hands hold the hope.
That this bridging is happening later in life is a blessing in truth. I needed to drop to the soul of my longing and rise again, alone, so that I would even recognise the place of “Soul Land”.
The tools and vision woven here, I pray will continue to nourish me, in my mind, body and soul until the day I die.
Blessed be SOULand,
Charlotte J. Kessler
Deep Gratitude for your heartful, bold and essential work. For weaving your life, art and longings into your offerings and for waking up and calling out ours. I am completing feeling inspired to create an altar for all of the meaningful threads and a void from where they came from. Thank you Azul for your bold and humble presence, for your depth-honoring and life bringing insights, for the clashes of your heart and the shared tears of our souls. With love and deep gratitude,
Thank you for offering me a place in this circle you hold in love, in nature amongst awakening humans. Thank you for your weave of traditions which has enabled me to touch in just enough to my longing, my grief, and my gratitude so that it feels like a beginning that will move through me, whilst also being an honouring of all I have lived with and through until now. In my own words of this morning : I was mush for the first two days and now on the third day I feel clear enough to feel excited to go back to life with a rich renewed soil and seeds replanted, ready to be tended daily with my altar and committed practice. I feel re-woven.
Azul, how you show up as teacher, human and Queen spirit gives me strength and courage to keep opening up and sharing more of myself. I could learn more from you and I have plenty to live on with. Thank you so much. Thank you for how you listened to the energy in the group and responded to our needs. I felt loved well.
Heart Full to burst ~ We untangled to re-weave ~ Your presence is something I can lean on. Thank you for being yourself and for calling a circle of sanity which is a beautiful bubble of reality in these unreal and insane times. I feel relieved and not alone. I am quite isolated and burnt by community so I have new faith in people.
I love being led by a woman. An elder who is choosing to take loving responsibility of her experience and wisdom to share it with the world. I have learnt through your modeling how it is to embrace the sacred masculine and sacred feminine within. I have witnessed and embodied the experience of being led with the spirit of love, the flow of water, depth and groundedness of the Earth, the wisdom of the winds of change and guidance of spirit.
I leave feeling nourished. It has been a journey so physical that my body aches and it feels good. I found it hard to access the grief I expected to show but instead touched new and unknown or unexpressed priorities. I felt held and loved. I felt like we are doing something important. We are. It is not a course. Through touching and experiencing the release of the collective grief it has loosened the stuck bits in me.
The first day was very full. I was tired when I arrived and quite fearful of my exhaustion after the first day. I’m not sure if that is a necessary part of it or if it is not.
I am leaving inspired to do all of the homework that was set for beforehand. I means more to me now. I love the weave. It enables me to see a little more how I can weave together the strands of my own journey, into something cohesive and my own, everyone’s honouring the deep and diverse lineages. Thank you. Wopila Mitakuye Oyasin, All my relations.
I am so grateful for the offerings you are bringing to us at this time.
The past three days at the Apprenticeship has met my longing for so many things that have been lost to me and that I need. I felt the loving preparations you had made to receive us and was really touched by the beauty and care we were given.
The strong, robust and respectful container you wove created a space for me to express my grief in all its wild forms. I love that.
The emphasis on personal responsibility and sovereignty is a welcome addition to allow me to find my own way.
I am leaving today having reclaimed some of my birthright and with a clear map to continue my journey home. With thanks and deep love, Linda
Thank you SOULand for turning your gentle light onto long forgotten place and spaces which were desolate and ghost like within me. For your work, courage and vision to take yourself to depths inside enabling a spacious landing place for us to arrive to be opened, unearthed and aired into the vitality of wholeness and being.
The honoring of this sacred act and emotion and the reverence with which you delicately ease her flowing through us enables us to welcome this passing and arriving within us.
The tapestry is woven from so many delicate and beautiful strands. Colours we have long forgotten about now no longer faded into memory but woven with grace and gratitude.
I take home with me a welcome returning and opening of simple sacred values. Of new openings in the spaces between our togetherness where new life can emerge.
As a collective of apprentices we spent three days in the rich embrace of SOULand. It is now a few days further along the road that I can reflect on the qualities of that embrace and give echo to what struck me and stays with me as I integrate and walk along.
SOULand is a place that opens with a question: What is your longing? Are you ready to die for it? Are you ready to give yourself away to it? What do you have to give ? Can you keep giving regardless of the rest? Can you move with grief away from lack and complain towards giving and repairing?
Over and over, SOULand presents me with the occasion to give, repair and be of service. This spring, we gathered as apprentices to Grief and Soul. Once more, I felt the confirmation that grieving collectively is a gift to life, to the lives of our ancestors and to the life that is to come. It is the freeing of the river that clears my vision of stiffening regrets. In the darkness of our Grief Composting ritual, I experienced tears of despair, transformed progressively into a screaming desire to live, and finally rested into a quiet readiness to appreciate what is and come back home to laughter. In darkness still, I could hear our individual voices merging into a large song of grieving, loving and questioning what aches.
Here we learn how to sit with each, supporting each other and not saving each other, entrusting the expression of our grief to the alchemy of compost.
Time is dense as every-thing, every-one and every of their expression is amplified by the attention it is gifted within the very particular embrace of SOULand.There is consistency in this attention, there is commitment, there is the belief that over time and breakdowns, there is the possiblity to transform all that matters. Here I learn to make prayers, to say them out loud, to infuse them into what I do. I am encouraged to make mistakes, to stumble and fall, and stand back again. SOULand cultivates deep care and beauty and asks us to visit the edges of this comfort where the fertile soil lies to grow our longings and bring them into form.
I am deeply appreciative of the weaving and crafting of what SOULand offers. It is so much more than the welcoming of grief in community - and this is essential and life serving work enough! For me I glimpsed and was deeply nourished by seeing the bigger fabric of what SOULand does. I saw and felt the importance of personal practice and finding ways to connect to what we value. I saw how important it is to feel, express and begin to live our longings. I saw the essential nature of prayer and praise. I’m left feeling richer and more human, more woven than before. Azul’s love for this work and for the world shines through what she does. It is rare to find both depth and ease, playfulness and humility in a person. I can highly recommend spending time with Azul and anything she offers
Here is the rest of the emerging SOULand Events for 2019/2020 ~~~ with strong love ~~~
River of Words and Images by Azul Thomé: