the Subversive work of Grief as a Sacred Initiation?
What does it take to shift from a Rough Initiation to a Sacred Initiation?
By Azul Valerie Thome
Since the last Extinction Rebellion Actions in London last April an enquiry and body of work emerged. As I observed people on Waterloo Bridge awakening through Grief and yet not even knowing her name I became concerned. That concern turned into curiosity then actions into creating a serie of offering ~ online and on land ~ with the golden thread: What does it take to shift from a Rough initiation to a Sacred Initiation?
Soul will always initiate us whether we like it or not. Right now we are being taken through a passage as a species and as a planet. We are being dragged right now from a state of being to an other state of being.
A transmutation, a non return mostly unsolicitated and feared.
It could be different.
It is bewildering not to be preparing for a regular rite of Passage with our Elders. It is heart renching for noone to be waiting for us on the other side of such passage, waiting for our stories and gifts which would, in an intact culture, be essential for its well being.
We could still mature through it all, we can make amend, fix our mess, restore Life on Earth and in our own hearts.
We could also crumble into despair, shame and blame.
In that gap between words there is CHOICE.
The choice to see our lives to serve all that is Sacred between humans, our Natural World and our Invisible World.
The choice to offer to Life our self honesty and self forgiveness woven in with our courage and creativity.
And the choice to make the World of our Longing while being Initiated by our sacred, wild, transformational and Rebellious Grief.
I took the wonderful 5 Gates of Grief of Francis Weller a little further, a little deeper. Here is where I have arrived.
THE 5 GATES OF GRIEF AS INITIATORY GATES
From a point of SEPARATION,
we awaken and come through a GATE OF GRIEF,
into a space of sacred INITIATION of maturing practices
to come back through our GRATITUDE to our natural state of BELONGING.
1 - From the Separation we have created between Life and Death, where we have pushed the pause button on youth to demonise and mock death, we have created a world out of balance. Our relationship with the autumn and winter of Life has been abstracted from our embodied imagination. Therefore the transition between life and death is something feared in stubborn denial. From here we enter the first GATE of GRIEF: What we love we will lose - calls an INITIATION into the mystery of death and into the GRATITUDE of our capacity to love within that mystery.
2 - From the Separation between what is ‘acceptable’ with what is shameful and ‘unwelcome’ in each of us we enter the second GATE of GRIEF: The Places That Have Not Known Love - That place calls for an INITIATION into the mystery of adulthood and maturation and into the GRATITUDE of being able to welcome back home to our Soul all that has been outcast and sent into exile.
3 - From experiencing the Separation between humans and the other than humans we enter the third GATE of GRIEF: The Sorrows of the World which calls for the INITIATION into the immutable bond with all of creation and with deep GRATITUDE that we Belong to our Living World.
4 - The Separation between our Stone Age ancestry and our great effort to eradicate our deep time memory calls us to enter the fourth GATE of GRIEF: What We Expected and Did Not Receive. It calls for an INITIATION into our Deep Time lineage and into the GRATITUDE of Remembering Who we are and Where we come from.
5 - The Separation with our Ancestors created by various unspoken traumas, illnesses, secrets and unreleased suffering is another fracture in our presence here on Earth. We enter the fifth GATE of GRIEF: Ancestral Grief - calling for an INITIATION into Elderhood and into the GRATITUDE that we can Restore and Renegotiate our family tree.
“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.
Here is short film where I explored walking through the 5 Gates of Grief as Gates of Initiation and Deep Belonging
River of Words and Images by Azul Thomé: