When a community is devastated by a traumatic event, such as a mass shooting or natural disaster, in addition to individuals grieving their personal losses (death of loved ones, loss of a home), there is a communal loss experienced by all who have been touched by the event, directly or indirectly.
Grieving in community is an ancient practice that has been lost to many of us in modern Western culture. To grieve fully and consciously, it is critical that we connect with other grievers to help each other carry the collective burden of community, tribal or national loss.
Last month, my dear friends Austyn Wells and Maggie Yenoki joined me in facilitating a Community Grief Ceremony to support those who were affected by the cataclysmic wildfires (and a tragic mass shooting) in California. You can see details from that ceremony HERE.
And this month I was honored and grateful for the opportunity to host my 28th annual Winter Solstice Ceremony and Celebration. I started this tradition in 1990 when my son was born. As a new mother, I wanted my child to understand what the “Christmas season” was really about, so I studied ancient, worldwide, pre-Christian customs, and learned about celebrating the winter solstice.And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
I invite you all to explore opportunities for creating ceremony in your own lives. It is a very healing spiritual practice, and is particularly helpful in grief work. Here is a seminary paper I wrote on grief rituals that you may find useful.