Entering the Sacred River of Grief

Starts Saturday December 31, 2022: In this 2-week course and 3-day grief ritual, we’ll explore and share this magnificent emotion and learn how its power can soothe and heal us.


A Healing Grief Ritual

In every life, loss, death, and times of deep upheaval will certainly occur, and the healing waters of grief can soothe us and help us complete these transitions. Join us to explore and share this magnificent emotion in a healing community ritual.

Grief is a powerfully healing emotion that helps us mourn our losses and honor that which is gone forever. Grief is a vital part of love.

We welcome you to an online grief ritual where we’ll learn about the important aspects of good ritual and gather together to mourn, to cry, to laugh, to rage, to love, and to feel into the depths of our grief in an empathic community.

Join Karla McLaren, M.Ed. and Dynamic Emotional Integration® professionals Sherry Olander and Andrea Watkins for a online exploration of grief that culminates in a 3-day online grief ritual (ritual schedule to be announced).

What You’ll Learn:

  • An empathic approach to emotions that will help you access the gifts and skills in every emotion you have
  • An exploration of the magnificent emotion of grief, and practices to help you work with your grief
  • Clear and supportive information on how to create grounded healing rituals
  • Skills and practices to help you access your emotions and ground yourself naturally
  • An exploration of your elemental balance and how it plays into your life and your healing
  • Specific information on how to create your own grief ritual within our community ritual
  • An online grief ritual to help you mourn your losses in an empathic community of fellow mourners
  • Community support and somatic healing practices for you and your emotions

Your Grief Ritual Guides

Karla McLaren, M.Ed. has been studying and leading healing rituals for over 30 years. This grief ritual is based on the many rituals she participated in with the late, great Dagara ritual keeper Sobonfu Somé. Karla asked for and received permission to lead these Dagara-inspired grief rituals from the late Elder Malidoma Somé, and she sends offerings during each ritual to Sobonfu’s Wisdom Spring water and well-digging project and to Malidoma’s Aviela project to support the Dagara elders in Burkina Faso.

Sherry Olander is a dual-licensed Dynamic Emotional Integration® Trainer and Consultant, and has studied and led rituals in her Pagan culture for over 25 years. Sherry developed a deep affinity for the power and beauty of grief in her Dynamic Emotional Integration training, and is a font of wisdom about the important differences between grief and sadness. Sherry also brings a deep knowledge of elemental balance to our ritual.

Andrea Watkins is a dual-licensed Dynamic Emotional Integration® Trainer and Consultant who has a deep affinity for the natural world and the aspects of healing rituals. She is an abolitionist social worker and a Somatic Experiencing® practitioner, and she brings healing rituals, somatic awareness, and Restorative and Transformative Justice approaches to men in maximum security prisons (pandemic permitting). Andrea brings an excellent sense of boundaries, self-care, and somatic awareness to our ritual.

Course Details

Length: 2 weeks leading into our 3-day ritual: Saturday, December 31, 2022 to Sunday, January 15, 2023

Grief Ritual: Friday evening, January 13 to Sunday afternoon, January 15 (Zoom schedule to be announced).

Cost: $250

Learning and Interaction Structure: This course contains online curriculum for you to read on your own time and Forum discussions where we come together as a community (also on your own time). We’ll also meet on the Zoom webinar as a community each week.

Course Attendance Requirements: Because this is a ritual, we will not be recording any of our Zooms. Each Zoom is a vital part of preparation and community building, so if you cannot be present in our Zooms on December 31, January 7, and January 13 to 15 (see below), this is not the right time for you to join this ritual. Please join us in our next grief ritual instead.

Live Zoom Webinar Schedule:

    • Saturday, December 31 from 10:30am to 12 Noon Pacific Time
    • Saturday, January 7 from 10:30am to 12 Noon Pacific Time
    • The weekend of Friday, January 13 to Sunday, January 15 (Zoom times to be decided by our community).

The Schedule for Our Community Grief Ritual: We’ll create a schedule of Zoom meetings for our ritual weekend, but before we can do that, we need to know how many time zones we have represented in our community. As you plan for the weekend of January 13 to 15, prepare to be in ritual with our community from Friday evening in your time zone to Sunday mid-day in your time zone.

Time Commitment: You’ll read the course curriculum and interact in the Forum on your own schedule (plan for a minimum of two hours per week), and you’ll meet with your Sacred River community at the times and days listed above.

This Course Is Suitable For: Everyone who is grieving and wants to join an empathic community of fellow mourners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is grief?

A: Grief is a powerfully healing emotion that helps us mourn our losses and honor that which is gone forever. Grief is a vital part of love.

Q: Do I need any training to be able to do ritual?

A: No. The rituals we teach are nondenominational, and they rely on your natural ability to make meaning and listen to nature, to your emotions, and to the subtle influences in your world.

Q: Will you cover the five stages of grief?

A: That model isn’t really the way grief works, and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross never meant for it to be the only description of grief. It was just a way for her to begin thinking about this emotion, and sadly, the simplicity of it really caught on. Grief doesn’t move reliably through any of the five stages and each of us grieves in our own unique way.

Q: Isn’t it better just to move on?

A: Sometimes, if the loss isn’t that important to you, it’s fine to just shake things off and move forward. But if you lose someone or something essential to you, it’s vital to slow down and feel, and to learn how to live with your grief and loss instead of pretending that you cannot be touched by the world. Grief is an essential part of love.

Q: Why aren’t these course Zooms being recorded?

A: One of the most important aspects of healing ritual is to set clear boundaries and intentions, and our intentions are for people to be able to feel and be authentic in each moment. We want people to know that their emotional lives aren’t going to be on perpetual display, but that their presence is a vital part of creating our intentional ritual community.

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