Grieving Rituals


I like the idea of grief triggers. Good topic! I don’t usually need triggers because I am a pretty frequent cryer. I cry more often out of overwhelming pleasure than I do from pain, but both kinds feel intertwined. I was triggered the other night by posting about an ebola story I heard on the radio—those tears were pain and pleasure rolled together, because the story was so tragic and also so wonderful. It felt good to take it outside, where it was so dark and still, and dig a little hole by the marigolds to cry into. Sowing little tear-and-snot-seeds.

I never did see Pan’s Labyrinth, but now I will. I hope you all go see the full-length “Fanny and Alexander” too. It’s super rich and hits every emotional target. Fantastic.

I never heard of Boadicea either until I was doing a little reading up on Barbarians last spring. Kind of amazing the stories that get buried and unearthed over time.


Lol, I’m a frequent cryer too, but I also frequently return to the things that make me cry. Haha.

Yes. You should watch Pan’s Labyrinth when the kids are asleep. It’s seriously my favorite movie.

Do you have a copy of Fanny and Alexander that I could borrow?


Also, heads up. There are a few super violent/gruesome scenes in Pan’s Labyrinth. Just a warning.


I do have a copy of Fanny and Alexander. Do you have a copy of Pan’s Labyrinth? Maybe we could swap.


I have a copy on Pan’s Labyrinth. Yes, let’s make a trade! :slight_smile:


Anyone read Martin Prechtel’s new book yet? I just got it.

The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise


I still need to get that book. Meanwhile I thought I’d post this poem a friend shared recently, “Thanks” by W. S. Merwin.

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is


In my experience it becomes easier to access feelings of loss and grief when you feel safe in the sense that you have enough time and space, so that you may explore, follow and go through those feelings freely.

One of the ways to provide this for someone can be to provide a place for a fire, staying available, and most of all making sure that nobody will come and disturb the grieving one(s).
Logistical aspects like duration, food and drinks, etc. can be worked out together in advance, to prevent distractions from the grieving process as much as possible.

To find grieving time for yourself, ask friends if they can help provide that safe space.


Here are two gentle “triggers” that can work for kids or adults… both nicely illustrated children’s books. This is a very difficult thing for me as well - i literally don’t remember the last time i cried, wept, released grief… knowing that i “need” to is one thing, but actually allowing it to happen is quite another. :volcano:


Wow. This old thread. It’s funny looking back on this. Well, we did a pretty amazing grief ritual last August. it was a bit spontaneous and I would love to write about it in depth at some point. We’ll be doing another one this summer. End of the summer feels like a good time for grieving. All the fires, all the things fruiting and then dying. It’s a grieving time of year. My friend TJ made a really good cultural “container” that wasn’t cheesy and worked well at creating a safe space to collectively grieve. I had a rough summer teaching children along the river, and all the fish were dying because of the strange heat wave (from climate change). So the grief ritual really helped me shed a lot of the grief I was carrying from witnessing the anthropocene over the summer. I started this thread over 8 years ago. That’s kind of mind blowing. It’s amazing to see how far the rewilding community in Portland has come since then. Makes me feel a little less crazy. :slight_smile:


My 9-year-old daughter drew this a few days ago. I asked a bunch of questions—who is this? is she a girl or a woman? what are the little people saying? why is she crying?—and she answered all of them with “I don’t know.” All she said was the little people were fairies, one male and one female.

I’ll come back to this drawing next time I feel heartsick for the earth. Nothing like a good drawing to help the grief flow!


this is beautiful, thank you Mindy :blue_heart:


I keep coming back to this thread wanting to offer more materials that can help elicit grief. I guess I’m a collector!

I stumbled into a song yesterday that I already know I’ll be coming back to. It got me swaying in my seat and remembering people I love who’ve died. It’s a song by Vic Chestnutt, who had serious health problems and very openly flirted with death himself and died not long ago at age 45.


Recently watched “Where the Wild Things Are” and found it unexpectedly “triggering” / thought provoking… still mulling it over. Anyone else see this film as relevant to rewilding and grief??? Would love to hear your thoughts. :blue_heart:


I used to run a public ritual out here, for years. Odd hybrid of a bunch of things, thanking a bunch of deities and having the people as a part of it. But the key to it was the sharing; when each person mentioned by name someone important to them who had recently died. That gave them a public space to share their grief and as small and simple as the ritual was, it felt very impactful.