Fri, Jul 07|
Liberating Our Sorrow: Dagara Grief Ritual
Join us as we fall apart in the embrace of community and in the presence of our Ancestors. We will utilize the healing arts of embodied storytelling, artistic creation of personal grief shrines, and collective somatic release practices.
Time & Location
Jul 07, 9:00 AM – Jul 09, 5:00 PM
Newfane, 94 River Rd, Newfane, VT 05345, USA
About the Event
Liberating Our Sorrow: Dagara Grief Ritual
Inspired by the Dagara lineage of Sobonfu & Dr. Malidoma Patrice Somè, this 3-day in-person grief ritual will facilitate the unburdening of current & historical sorrows. Join us as we fall apart in the embrace of community and in the presence of our Ancestors. We will utilize the healing arts of embodied storytelling, artistic creation of personal grief shrines, and collective somatic release practices. When we unburden our hearts collectively, we have access to more Joy, Vitality & Clarity of Vision & Purpose on the other side!
This AfroIndigenous-centered space is open to all at no cost.
Meals are included for the duration of the event and camping spaces are available.
Friday July 7
Saturday July 8
Sunday July 9
*We will provide an email will details of what to bring for the 3 day ritual closer to the event
Please email: email@example.com with any questions
Background on Grief in the Ritual Context
"Grief must be approached as the release of the tension created by separation and disconnection from someone or something that matters. Grief does not necessarily come on demand. It is something that must be evoked through stories and images…to help pluck out that which causes tension, paralysis and distress. Every grief story has similar elements. This is why one story invites another.
In the village there is an opportunity to grieve daily because there is death almost everyday. And funeral rituals last long enough to produce a continual opportunity for the expression of grief. It takes a great deal of involvement within a community for grief to be expressed freely. It is the presence of the community that validates the expression of grief.
Communal grief therefore provides the opportunity to reach that important cathartic peak that grief must logically lead to.
Grief is an energy that works at mellowing the mind, heart and body. An agitated or prolonged expression of grief exhausts the body to the point where rest is needed. One notices that a baby sometimes cries heavily before going to sleep. Grief takes us to the top of the hill and then lets us walk back down slowly, peacefully. It helps relieve the person who is in sorrow and leads him or her toward acceptance of the phenomenon of death, separation and love.
Such a Gathering/Ritual is appropriate for anyone who, for whatever reason, and in whatever way, is experiencing loss, transition or Grief: from the death of loved ones; the loss of a job or friendship; deep feelings re: the state of affairs in one’s personal life, cultural or planetary grief; honoring beginnings and ending within one’s stations of life: marriage, birth, divorce, illness, family situations, issues with children." -Malidoma somé
This powerful, important ritual of grief is passed down to us in the west by Elder Malidoma Somé and Sobonfu Somé of the Dagara Tradition in West Africa. In the Dagara tradition grief is a potent and transformational tool that supports us with healing from deep wounds, traumas, loss, and all that we have to grieve that has been unexpressed for lifetimes and often generations. When we come together in commUNITY for the sacred practice of grieving we are able to be seen and share our stories of pain and suffering and find ourselves in a space where we can heal and find deeper connection with the earth and each other as center to the process.
Grief Ritual Facilitators
Elder Lula Mae Christopher
Lula is an initiated Elder in the Tradition of the Dagara People of Burkina Faso, West
Africa. She is a certified Ritual Leader, completing a three-year apprenticeship program
and a two-year study course exploring Indigenous African Spirit Technology and the
Healing Wisdom of Africa with Elder Dr. Malidoma Some, PH.D., BURKINA Faso, West Africa.
Lula is a visionary, social and spiritual activist, educator, and healer with a mission to
inspire Black and Indigenous women of color to create physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual health and wellness in their lives and in their communities.
Lula’s vision is that women’s gifts as leaders and healers are recognized and affirmed
and that women’s leadership is continually developed and nourished through all stages
of our lives from girlhood to womanhood through our sage years.
During her apprenticeship with Elder Malidoma Some, Lula co-facilitated the “Ritual
Healing Village” and the “Certification for Ritual Leaders” programs at East Coast village
in Cherry Plain, NY from 2013-2016.
Lula has had the opportunity to work with women and communities of color throughout
her career. Answering the call from the Ancestors, 1997-2012, Lula launched the Boston Black Women’s Health Institute, a grass-roots empowerment and health advocacy organization. In 2017 Lula joined with Seeds of our Ancestors, a mobile interdisciplinary, intergenerational and multi-lineage healing squad in service to movement spaces devoted to healing justice. In 2020 as a member of the Sistahs of the Calabash Lula co-founded ILE ASE School of Ancestral Rites. The school serves to offer integrative ancestral medicine, land sovereignty, energy healing and indigenous practices. The School of Ancestral Rites seek to offer interventions to reclaim our indigenous root invoking self-agency, as well as strengthen the legacy of our traditional medicines in our Community.
Lula is most proud of her work as an Elder and Ritual Leader to hold space for
Community Grief Rituals. The grief ritual is an act of transformation and deep healing
that widens the potential for our shared liberation. In addition to facilitating Grief Rituals
at East Coast Village from 2017 through the present, Lula has held Grief Rituals for the
following communities: Sistahs of the Calabash and Black Lives Matter/Boston-2020,
Vision 2020/Rites of Passage Project- 2021, SUSU CommUNITY Farm -2022 and Resist Inc, /Movement Sustainability Commons-2022.
MawuLisa is a Queer Southern born, Black & Indigenous somatic awakener, healing midwife, somatic bodyworker & song weaver. Her healing practice is inspired by the healing & embodiment technologies of generative somatics, Strozzi Institute, Ayurveda, Earth-based Wisdom Traditions, The Divine Feminine and the healing gifts generously bestowed to her by her Ancestors. MawuLisa applies her practice in support of healing & transforming the embodied impacts of capitalism, racialized trauma, gender oppression, & sexual violence while cultivating a centered presence and honoring the somatic body and the Earthbody as our primary home & re-Source.
Grief Ritual Ticket