Community Grief Tending Ritual – Grief and Gratitude: 3rd August

Talking to grief
Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.

I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.

You think I don’t know you’ve been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your name,
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
to consider
my house your own
and me your person
and yourself
my own dog. 

Location: Brighton, East Sussex

Date: Saturday 3 August 2019

Time: 10am – 6pm

Venue: Centre for Ecotherapy, Stanner Organics, Brighton, BN1 9PZ


Parking: There is parking available in Stanmer Park, near the Church and Manor, but not at Stanmer Organics.

Booking instructions

The suggested exchange is £45. To secure your place and confirm your booking, please make your payment either by Paypal or Bank Transfer. Drop me an email to let me know you’ve made the transfer and I’ll email you to confirm your space is secure. Bookings are non-refundable, unless we have a waiting list and can pass your space onto someone else.


Bank transfer: Halifax

Sort code: 11-06-63

Account number: 11577062

Name: Miss G J Davidson

Joining instructions

In the run up to the ritual

I want to honour your commitment to step into this space and the sacred art of grieving. If this is your first time to community grief tending, or even if you’ve been doing this work for some time, you may notice that you begin to bubble with thoughts and dreams related to the work. This is understandable, so I encourage you to be gentle with yourself, lovingly observing whatever comes up, and trust it will reveal its medicine.

This short video by Francis Weller beautifully explains the communal practice of grieving, the five gates of grief and more:

On the day of the ritual

Please arrive for a 10.30am start. You’re welcome to come earlier from 10am for tea around the fire. We close the day at 6pm.

You are invited to bring:

  • water to drink
  • vegetarian food to share for lunch / after our ritual
  • water that is sacred to you to add to our grief altar (this will end up on the land)
  • an item to add to our ancestors’ altar (you will get to take it back with you)
  • blankets, camping chairs and sheepskins
  • drums.

Please note this is not a circle or talking therapy. We’ll spend the morning opening and sharing what brings us to the space, in some exercise to stir our grief. After lunch we’ll open our grief altar and create a ritual. Then we’ll move into some integration exercises and have time to share food.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to email me. We look forward to welcoming you and your wild grief.

Samantha & Gail



Making space for your grief

A workshop and ceremony in Westmeston Village Hall on Sunday 7th July 2019 2.30-7.30pm.

I warmly invite you to join me in a beautiful and tender ritual in honour of your grief. It’s not an easy thing to do in our culture and with our hectic lives, especially perhaps when you don’t have much advance notice! Our grief, and all that is bundled with it, however, needs our time and attention; and allowing ourselves to connect with it and to be witnessed in the process, is a deeply healing and necessary thing to do, in my growing understanding of what it is to be human.


In many intact cultures where ceremonies and rituals are as natural as the rain, tending to grief in a shared way has the same intrinsic value as celebrating a marriage, birth or death. These communal rituals form the beating heart of the village and are as fundamental to its health and vitality as water, fire, earth and air. They nourish and sustain each individual within the rich web of life and weave the invisible threads of connection between the living and the dead, the gods and goddesses and the mighty elements of the natural world, visible and invisible. In the current economic and environmental climate, we might also have a sense of how deeply the soul of the world needs our grief, for the rituals of release and renewal that make up a grief-tending ceremony bring us the joy, energy, strength and courage to face anew the challenges that confront us in our daily lives.

The shape of the workshop:

When we first meet, we will spend time welcoming who we are at this moment and beginning the journey of building a sense of community for the ceremony. We will work on our own, in small groups, and as one larger group, spending some time outdoors, as well as inside, engaging in activities, listening to one another and taking stock of our lives in order to stir our grief and look more deeply into what grief is, and how we can learn to grieve communally. Then we will move into the ceremony which will last for around 90 minutes. There will be a couple of bio breaks during this time, as well as some resting and integration time. We will end by sharing some food together, nourishing our bodies and grounding ourselves after our work so that we may return smoothly to our everyday lives.

I would be honoured if you felt to join me for this ceremony. If you have a friend or colleague who may also be interested, please ask them to get in touch. Sometimes grief-tending is described as being akin to having an emotional spring-clean and certainly in my experience, much joy, celebration, tender-heartedness and fresh thinking can emerge from sharing our deepest sorrows, angers, fears and hurts with others, bearing witness in the process to the sacredness and deep beauty of all life.

‘Even in the darkest and most painful moments of life

Simple blessings are around you.

Looking for gratitude, even when your heart is breaking,

Tethers you to the beauty that remains.

It cannot change the pain of loss,

But it will alleviate some of your suffering.’

Kelly Buckley

In the run up to the ritual

If this is your first time to community grief tending, or even if you’ve been doing this work for some time, you may notice that you begin to bubble with thoughts and dreams related to the work. This is a natural part of the process, and is our mind’s way of preparing to enter a liminal space such as this. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and to consciously welcome what may be arising, even if uncomfortable or painful.

This short video by Francis Weller beautifully explains the communal practice of grieving, the five gates of grief and more:

What to bring

u Everything you need to be able to sit comfortably on the floor, so a blanket, mat, small rug or sheepskin for underneath you and then cushions or a backjack for sitting on.

u Food to share after the ceremony. I will bring a vegan soup and some cake and a range of teas. There is a small kitchen for making hot drinks and for heating food.

u Water to drink.

u Something to put on a collective altar in honour of your ancestors.

u An object, natural or made, or an image that you personally find beautiful.

u A few small stones or pebbles.

u Warm clothes for outdoors, and waterproofs if necessary. You may wish to sit or lie down outside, so come prepared.

u Please also wear clothes that you can wash afterwards in salt. This is part of the ‘grief-hygiene’ that we practice when working with grief-tending in this way.

Practical Information

Date: Sunday 7th July 2019

Time: 2.30-7.30pm

Venue: Westmeston Village Hall, Lewes Road, Hassocks, BN6 8RL. The postcode works in Google Maps. As there is little public transport to Westmeston on a Sunday, you will need to drive or get a lift to the hall. Please contact me if you need a lift and I will do my best to organise it.

Booking: I am inviting a donation of £40. If you wish to give more, or less, I am happy to work that out. To book a place, please can you complete the attached form with the grief-tending questions and email it back to me by 5th July.

For payment, you can pay on the day in cash or by cheque, or make a bank transfer beforehand into the following account:

Halifax Bank: 10507364; Sort code: 11-15-24; Account name