Tending The Wake

an online grief ceremony for our times









FTGU November Live Event:


an online grief ceremony for our times


Date: Saturday 21st November 2020

Time: 6 pm GMT
(our online space opens at 5.45 pm)

Duration: approx. 3 hours


10 am PDT (LA/Vancouver) : 7 pm CET (Berlin/Madrid) : 8 pm SAST (Cape Town) : 5 am AEDT (Melbourne)



*Event open to all folks/genders over the age of 18 years

Joining The Event


Tending The Wake: an online grief ceremony for our times is the November monthly event for my membership circle, FROM THE GROUND UP.

Folks are welcome to join FTGU for this one-off event which will give you membership access for one month (it’s easy to cancel at any point) or as on-going support in these times of change for however long that is supportive.

You can find out more about the FTGU Membership here or register for this LIVE Grief Ceremony event directly via the payment link below.

After payment & registration, you will have access to the FTGU Members site, including all content and recordings from previous events, personal practice support tools, access to specially-curated playlists, plus the option to join our private Facebook group and participate in our live monthly informal online Share & Digest Gatherings.

You’ll also receive access to the rich preparatory content for our upcoming Grief Ceremony, including what you’ll need for our live ritual & playlists to support our practice. Monthly exchange is £20-£15 – sliding scale.

N.B. Replay recordings are available on all events.


Book Your Place

Tending The Wake: an online grief ceremony for our times is the November monthly event for From The Ground Up Membership Circle.

Welcome to join FTGU for this one-off event which will give you membership access for one month (it’s easy to cancel at any point) or as on-going support in these times of change for however long that is supportive. Replay recordings are available on all events.

Introduction: Tending The Wake

Definitions of Wake [weyk]:

• to become roused from sleep
• to rouse from lethargy, apathy, ignorance or inactivity
• a watching or a watch kept, especially for ceremonial purposes
• funeral celebration and vigil over a dead body before burial (usually involves feasting & drinking)
• the track of waves left by a ship or other object moving through the water
•the path or course of anything that has passed or preceded
• a rare state of being awake
• night-watch


Grief can feel like it arrives as a disturbing and confounding visitor in our lives. Often when we hear the thud of grief at the door of our heart, we pretend the sound is coming from somewhere else or we turn away entirely by ignoring the deep, consistent call of descent as it knocks for our attention.

And yet, the more we ignore it, the more it continues to destabilise our interior. Sometimes we grasp onto our rage and denial as a means to fight against the surrender and drop into grief that’s being asked of us. Or we become paralysed in fear and muffle our grief down because we’re so scared that it will overwhelm and break us, or keep us trapped in depression or morbidity, and that we’ll no longer be able to function or recover from the loss and heartbreak if we meet it fully.

So we get caught in the relentless tides of grief, feeling half-drowned in our unknowing of how to swim steadily with it in our daily lives and in the forgetting of how to breath underwater when a tsunami hits us and pulls us down into the depths.

But the great treasure that our wise, initiated self comes to behold is that Grief is a place of holy ground and it orientates us directly into the realm of the Great Mystery – to that which the Soul, the Heart, the Spirit and ultimately, Love belong.

What we touch at the very core of our grief is the most heart-breaking beauty. When we can allow it, Grief opens up the depths of our soul and authenticity – it becomes a manifestation and expression of the very deepest intimacy with that living Mystery that is occurring within and around us; the intangible yet utterly palpable true nature of LOVE and of Loss.

Becoming skilled in Love & Grief, we learn how to extract the poison or toxicity from heart-break and loss by offering it a wise and honourable death, which allows the true healing nature of Grief & Death to serve in their supporting synthesis with Life. This process of composting sorrow and transforming pain is regenerative because it allows the proper digestion, metabolic action, absorption and enrichment needed for the soul’s biome to be healthy and whole, which also generates potency and fecundity in the ground of our Being and heart. And it’s from this fertile soil that possibility, joy, new life, aliveness, and emergence can once again sprout and strengthen within the Web of Life as the ways in which we love.

In tending the terrains of Grief, our human maturity and wisdom are supported through the deepening of our humanity and the expansion or widening of our heart. We learn how to be more inclusive with our difficult feelings and responses to Grief, such as shame, anger, rage, confusion, disorientation, fear and overwhelm. And we strengthen our core resilience and the robust nature called forth from within us in our honest meeting with the constant change, death, transformation and movement of Life.

When we yield to the truth of what is and invoke the true sacredness of Grief, the weight of our individual, internalised burdens are lifted through the ever-tender, ever-compassionate, ever-inclusive embrace of Grace.

In Tending The Wake and our encounters with Grief, I invite us into the view that Grief is by no means a strange visitor in our life. Nor is it something to be avoided or feel ashamed of.

Instead, let us consider that Grief is a sacred terrain of initiation and deepening. It is a teacher or underworld deity beholden to the holy ground of your heart and a profound and guiding light for your soul in the the depths of the dark.

Grief belongs to the Underworld and is connected to the element of Water and its teachings. Perhaps we can visualise this sacred land of Grief as a holy stream, river or ocean shoreline as we begin to perceive it’s continuous, fluid, moving body. At times, Grief may appear as a holy wellspring that we quietly tend and drink from as we go about our ways, and at other times Grief brings us into a wild rapid ride that unquestionably takes us to the edge, and beyond, of our known capacities.

It’s my hope that through our communal tending of the deity of Grief and the wakes it generates, that we can learn how to recognise and open to it’s sacred nature, and within this to grow our capacity and practice the skills that the twin teachers of Grief & Love ask of us, particularly in these times of great collective change and profound personal transformation.

Our Ceremony Intention & Focus

In our Tending The Wake event, we’ll use the container of our circle and the structures of ceremony & ritual to fortify our space as we invite and welcome the deity of Grief to share with us.

We’ll explore meeting our Grief through breath-work, sounding, and somatic movement to give voice, feeling and expression to the sorrows living in our hearts.

Our simple Grief Ritual will support us in transforming the toxicity of our pain, so that the medicine and wisdom of our grief can be received and rejoiced for the deep love that it truly is.

Together, we’ll open and close our ceremonial space, and there will be time for sharing and witnessing also.

Preparations For Our Grief Ceremony

Joining this live event will require some simple, practical preparations beforehand, so please allow yourself enough time after registration to do that. All preparatory information and support are offered post-registration.

As part of our preparation for this upcoming Grief Ceremony, we’ll explore what it means to be living in this age of loss and how the shadow conditioning around meeting grief can obstruct the flow of grace, authenticity and deep-heartedness in our lives.

And we’ll also look at the ways in which the purpose and meaning of collectively tending our sorrows can reclaim the sacred for our soul and generate powerful, healing medicine for the world.

Book Your Place

Tending The Wake: an online grief ceremony for our times is the November monthly event for From The Ground Up Membership Circle.

Welcome to join FTGU for this one-off event which will give you membership access for one month (it’s easy to cancel at any point) or as on-going support in these times of change for however long that is supportive. Replay recordings are available on all events.




Grief is not a feeling, it is a capacity.

It is not something that disables you – we are not on the receiving end of grief, we are on the practising end of grief.

Stephen Jenkinson

















A Lament To Our Times…

I don’t think I really need to sit here and write to you about our contemporary context as a time of collapse, and the immense challenges we experience by living in this age of loss. I think this game-changer year of 2020 has really laid it on the table for any parts of us that have been in denial, freeze and flight. But humour me for a moment as I gather some threads for our communal grief basket…

This is a time where worlds within worlds are simultaneously colliding, crashing, collapsing and breaking apart – the very nature of modernity itself is hyper-rising and accelerating this inevitable process as we hurtle now into this immense collective transition that is being catalysed. Where the crest of this change will deliver us is yet unknown as we seemingly teeter on the collective cliff-hanger of choice between love and fear.

We are living in the time of the 6th mass extinction – all kinds of species of life are disappearing forever every day. Eco-spheres are collapsing, and many forms of life are being violently plundered on a devastating scale for individual profit, power and gain to the detriment of the majority, and to the Web of Life itself. Rivers, streams, oceans and our drinking waters are being poisoned, and our bodies are being slowly choked with toxicity as all kinds of illnesses, disease, viruses, and malaise manifest in the confusion of the wake. This also includes the emotional toxicity, self-hatred, unworthiness and repression  compounding in the landscape of our bodies and identities.

The Earth is responding.

We are living in the midst of systems generating economic violence, centered around the false principle of profit-over-people, power-over-life. Systems that enslave our focus, energy and life-blood into patterns of survival, lack, debt & poverty whilst simultaneously drowning and distracting our attention in the accumulation of meaningless objects, work and values.

We are experiencing and witnessing unfathomable social injustices & human-on-human atrocities – hate, misanthropy, corruption and oppression are systemic and are tearing the very fabric of our humanity. The demise of which becomes a silenced breeding-ground for collective apathy, disempowerment, indifference, loss of hope and overwhelm.

The Heart is responding.

And we are trying to navigate all of this whilst in the fragmentation, trauma and loss of our deep-cultural and heritage wisdom traditions. The extinction continues to sweep away our roots, memory, cultures, peoples, languages, songs, stories, oral traditions, rituals, festivals, herb & healing lore, ceremonies, indigenous science systems, cosmologies, our originality & creative expression, and the continuity of deep human wisdom that was traditionally passed down from age to age.

And our bones witness the desecration of sacred lands and our mythological landscapes, as the sacredness and cosmologies of Place are forgotten, dismissed and no longer seen.

Our old paradigm created education systems that often cause more harm than healthy learning for the growing souls of our children, and our repulsion toward aging, death, limitation, frailness, non-productivity and beingness has reflected in our disregard of the wisest years of the human life as we find ourselves lost at sea without a strong-hold community of initiated elders and mentors to truly guide us.

The Ancestors are responding.

We have lost the real nourishment of village life, of our on-ground community-based connections, and for our humanity to be held and guided by healthy agreed structures that stand transparent on natural law, truth, inclusivity, regenerative design, harmony and balance that is in support of all Life.

And at the heart of this lament, is the deep sense of separateness we feel and experience, and the terror of Otherness we project into the worlds within and around us. Yet at the same time, we long for nothing more than to live freely and fully in our true creative nature – in accordance with one another and with Life.

The Soul is responding.

Perhaps this brings us to the most profound loss of all and what we could name spiritual loss. It speaks to the eradication and forgetting of the essential truth of who we are and what we come from. This is our loss of intimacy with the living Mystery, with our own spirit, and with the pure aliveness of our own soul. I’m speaking of the systemic denial of our own heart and the core devastation of doubt that this seeds within us.

There is a profound longing or yearning within each of us for the true adventure of Life that our soul came here to live and express. We feel lost without the old wisdom and the traditional structures of initiation and rites of passage that contain and support the soul’s transformation and arrival, especially as we’ve forgotten how to name that.

Yet here we are anyway – being initiated trial-by-fire through crazy wisdom and freeing our wild sovereign authentic nature piece by piece.

The Spirit is responding.

And within this backdrop of collective, global, ancestral and spiritual grief, we try our best to process our personal losses, whilst feeling disorientated and without grounded healing structures to support us.

Author and Soul Activist, Francis Weller, names two primary poisons of the contemporary world as ‘anaesthesia and amnesia’ – meaning that we get numb and we forget. These are classic indicators of trauma – and the healing of that trauma asks us to feel and remember so we can unfreeze, unwind and bring these parts of our self home.

In this capitalist-driven culture, our grief is pegged as a personal pathology, or an individual problem that must be engaged in isolation or through restricted protocols (i.e., for a period of time when a person physically dies). It’s easy to feel shame in the midst of a cultural story-line that broadcasts the superior values of always being strong, of staying in control, and by the way, you need to hurry up.

This false narrative of the heroic ideal and the domestication of grief as an individual burden are suffocating for our soul, which instinctively understands the sacredness of Grief and the importance of Death wisdom – not just for our survival, but for the thriving of all Life itself.

Sharing our grief – whether that’s individual or collective, personal or transpersonal – is what the soul of the world is crying out for. It is part of what’s needed for our times. This is the kind of soul activism that takes a stand for what’s true – for the heart, for love, for our inherent connectedness, and for the grace held in our humanity, which can so often appear fragile and endangered through the sheer velocity of all we’re experiencing.

Declaring our grief and remembering how to surrender to its wisdom, humility and profound heartedness helps us to cultivate a kind of deep-rooted resilience, potency & true culture-making in the wake of a fractured, disconnected, power-over culture that has, at the root-level, died in the very heart of this 2020 year.

One of the most powerful things we can begin practising if we don’t know how to help the world and ourselves in these times of change is to  s l o w  d o w n, come into our core being and to stop dislocating from what we feel so that we can move the energy of our experience the whole way through our body. And when possible, to allow our Community Bodies to also feel and express their Grief so that the heart of our togethering (human and more-than-human) can function healthily, anchored from a place of love, wisdom and clarity.