The village gathered to the sound of drumming yesterday in our devonshire village hall. 14 men and women gathered to witness, relate to and release their grief.
Our 16th Grief Composting Circles since 2015 holds a particular sweetness to me as it was dedicated to Sobonfu Some one of my teacher and the inspiration for these regular rituals. Her legacy is now held by many of us who answered the call to learn from this woman whose name mean Keeper of the Rituals. I wonder ow long it takes to cross from being dead to becoming an ancestor for her people the Dagara.
We were full again in the beautiful black yurt which was blessed by beauty and meaning touching each of our soul in a way that activates our deep time memory of how we have always done this...the rituals...the marking of crossing gateways between states, stages and edges . 14 of us closely sat around a living altar where Fire, Water, Plants, Air, Animals and Humans, alive and dead, were part of the creation of a strong and soul-full container. A sacred space to hold and then release our grief. Loss of someone so deeply loved, the feelings of failure, forgiveness of the unforgivable, elder orphan, fears and gagging, confusion and hopelessness and many other offerings were fed to our ancestors as apledge to come back to life and to love.
There was words of the union between gratitude and grief, how they dance with one an other sometimes hard to pull them apart and why would we want to?
Men showed up, 4 of them sat in the four directions. We never had that many in our small circles. They were honoured, witnessed and appreciated by the women for doing their work, for creating a safer world as they also remember a way of ritual of unclogging their heavy and dishonored hearts.
In the circle the lands and waters of England, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Spain, France, Lebanon and other unknown were all represented in our new Earth villages. We are birthing ourselves as the elders we miss and grieved so deeply. We are birthing what we are longing for, one at the time.
Our next Grief Composting Circles is on the 12th March and it is already full. There might be space for 2 a month soon if the village as it remembers its belonging to the sacredness of sharing, releasing and composting our sorrow and fear, confusion and anger.
A new training to become a Grief Composter will start in Devon, England this April as part of SOULand Programme; to Make the World of our Longing on Maturing Soul at a Time.
Our hearts have cracked open becoming a little deeper and wider, for our selves, for one an other and for our communities of all sentient beings
And this morning I received a beautiful message form a dear sister: my experience yesterday at your Grief Composting Circle was.....one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I felt like I was coming home. I felt like I was returning to my inner world, coming to a place which understands, values my inner world, my inner world which spoke urgent things to me when I was a very little girl, which sent me into a deep depression when I lost touch of it during my heartbroken teenage years, my inner world which wants and needs me to be guided by it now...
With a blessed heart for Grief and Soul to trust me...
Thank you to Emilio for the photos xx
Last night I offered a mini Grief Composting Circle and a talk about the eARTh of Grieving Collectively as if Life and Death really Mattered at Schumacher College, for its human community. The vision of growing a Mycelium of Grief Composters and Tenders is strong, our remembering is activated, our imagination mends a little bit, we feel the depth and complexity of our grief together and for all species. There is a hunger for this work which to me is of great relief because this is not the kind of Soul task that can be done alone, if each of us carry and release on a regular basis what is clogging our heart, we will come back to the kind of love our time needs, the kind of love every other species know about. It is the power of Giving Away our precious Lives for the continuation and thriving of All Life. Many warm blessings to your day and night. Azul
Grief Tending and Composting will awaken you to your profound innate capacity for love beyond your wild~ning imagination. It will require great effort. This sacred work of Grieving Collectively, as rituals infused with soul and beauty, will mature you as a human being in ways mostly mysterious ~ so very ancient ~ as a deep time memory gets activated in our human soul we might remember where we truly belong and who awaits for us at the diner table.
After completing my MA last December at Schumacher College on Ecological Design Thinking I went into a massive descent when I fell into the void. I had deeply frightening visions and some so beautiful my heart broke in a million pieces. They were all around survival, sanity, love and meaning...
I focused my MA work on the Collective Grief informed by Indigenous wisdom, Joanna Macy, Sobonfu Some, Francis Weller and many others...The MA is called' the eARTh of Grieving Collectively as if Life and Death really Mattered' ~ Of course as each time when we bring to the world such offering I had to look, feel and meet my own relationship with Grief, Love, Death and Life…personally and Collectively. These 4 powers told me that they have been neglected and abandoned in our conversations with, as we know, great consequences to all existence on Earth. They are the backbones of our relationship to being here...
One of my mentor and friend Francis Weller says : “Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life-force. It is riddled with energy, an acknowledgment of the erotic coupling with another soul, whether human, animal, plant or ecosystem. It is not a state of deadness or emotional flatness. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It resists the demands to remain passive and still. We move in jangled, unsettled and riotous ways when grief takes hold of us. It is truly an emotion that rises from soul.”
So I feel that it is time to grow faster the mycelium of grief tenders and com posters therefor grow the mycelium of Sacred Activists.
There is a new training for anyone interested in Holding Grief Composting Circles that myself and guests will be offering starting in June in Devon. Here are more info if you or someone else is interested in this sacred work. With love <3 Azul
I am still heart broken and in profound grief after your death Sobonfu Some, my teacher - a courageous bridge maker, a beautiful woman and keeper of Rituals so essential to our world. I miss you profoundly awaiting the time when it will be right to welcome you as an ancestor, a guide from an other reality. I am relieved to imagine that your physical pain has left your body now. My hands still feel the softness of your hands and the tension of your back as your drummed hours and hours for our grief to be released and fed to our ancestors. We took turn to massage your back, an honour. Thank you for the teachings about Communal Grief Rituals, Ancestors contract, Forgiveness to Self, Discipline and mystery and for the alchemy of true courage. I know you did not like much the world love so let me express my gratitude, the responsibility i feel to pass on what I have been entrusted with and to honour the beauty of your soul always. <3 Grief Composting Circles exist thanks to you Sobonfu , Blessings ! Azul
Our Facebook Event page of honouring you Sobonfu
River of Words and Images by Azul Thomé: