A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Grieving as a Village

by Kimchi Rylander

On November 14 & 15, a cluster of our village family and friends joined over a hundred people in Asheville for a Grief Ritual with Sobonfu Somé, sponsored by the School of Integrated Living (SOIL). Sobonfu is a gifted spiritual teacher from the Dagara tradition of Burkina Faso. This was the second time we were able to work with her.

It was especially enriching this year to share the ritual space with over 20 people from our extended village. We have woven together a life complete with broken dreams, shared losses, the hardships of living together, and the collective longing for a better world.

Sobonfu led the drumming and song that announced it was time to grieve. We created three altars: one for the ancestors, one for forgiveness, and one for grief. Each of us placed something on the grief altar to symbolize our grief. While grievers mourned, witnesses stood near and supported each one, as did the musicians and singers. Together we became a village with specific roles that made the grief ritual as powerful as it was. All in all, the message was—we cannot do this alone.

During the day, some of us reached out to each other, feeling the comfort and safety of being held in another’s arms. Being witnessed as we grieve is a powerful medicine, which breaks the spell of entrenched isolation and separation in modern culture that so often keeps us from reaching out. At the close of the ritual, Mana McLeod and Chris Farmer, both of Earthaven, had the honor of burying the grief bundle. I burst with emotion as the group thanked and welcomed them back in. It left me dreaming of a time when we are all welcomed with the same collective gratitude!

At the close of this ritual, my heart was so open; I felt such gratitude for the experiment called Earthaven.

Kimchi Rylander is an artist, deep ecologist, and permaculture activist who has been Earthaven’s Firekeeper for the last two years. Her grandest artistic endeavor is building a resilient ecovillage with 60 other cultural creatives at Earthaven. When she is not chair caning, you’ll find her in the forest harvesting a fresh batch of nettles and chickweed. Connect with Kimchi by email at kimchi-at-earthaven.org.

altars, ancestors, grief ritual, Kimchi Rylander, ritual, Sobonfu Somé, SOIL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get an inside look at THREE Earthaven Ecovillage homes.

Sign up for the newlsetter and get an exclusive video tour.

* indicates required

Upcoming Events

Flowing creek with statue at Earthaven Ecovillage

Nature as Medicine — Gaia and Your Health, Vitality, and Spiritual Unfoldment

FIVE MONDAYS: 3-5 EST: DEC 6, 13, 20, 27; JAN 3

Learn how to take care of your body in a way that enables spiritual unfoldment and supports joyful living.

As our lives have become more complicated and organized around technological advances, our health has faltered. This series will look at how interlinked the health of our bodies is with the health of Gaia, and the ways in which genuine healing can address both.

 

Virtual Earthaven Tour

Wednesday, December 8 @ 2 – 4 pm EDT

There’s nothing like experiencing ecovillage life first hand, but taking a virtual tour of Earthaven is a close second! 

The tour highlights ways in which Earthaven is striving to be a holistic, sustainable culture. The introductory overview tour examines the concept of sustainability at Earthaven through social, ecological, and economic lenses. Not only will you get a glimpse of what has worked through time, but also hear about what has been challenging. And you will have a chance to ask questions!

Thriving in Relationships — Five Tools for Success

Five Mondays 7 – 9 EST: Jan 10, 17, 23, 31; Feb 7

Join Steve Torma in this deep dive to learn five key relationship tools: gratitude & appreciation, empathy, honest expression, needs-based negotiation, and relationship repair. These tools can improving all types of relationships, including with friends, family, co-workers, community members, and even within oneself.

Earthaven Ecovillage Visitor Weekend

May 27-30, 2022

This service-learning program introduces participants in the community life of Earthaven Ecovillage. The class gives participants an inside look at the radical social and ecological experimentation that has taken place in this land-based community over the past 27 years.