When grief strikes, many reactions occur simultaneously – anguish, disappointment, withdrawal, even anger or rage. A grief ritual is meant to contain these responses by allowing their expression . . . and directing that emotion toward the natural "composting system" which will let it form the humous for new sprouts of life. Here, Sobey Wing describes on such process which involved a group of over one hundred people, most of whom had not experienced this kind of ritual previously:
"In the summer of 2009, a dear friend within the Tribal Harmonix community (and many other communities) disappeared in the waters near Texada Island. Howler, as he was known, was beloved of many, and at the very least, impactful on many lives. The emotional turmoil experienced called for a community ritual. Turning to RTJ, who was being kept in the loop as news continued to be issued, it was arranged that a ceremony would be called for the community to respond. He rapidly provided a template for what he envisioned for helping the community release their emotions, honor the memory of Howler and be with his family. It was our intention to allow our community to reach a deeper intimacy through all of it.
For all of us, a grief ritual was pretty new for us to experience.
What was shown in the unfolding of that ritual was that where a strong container for releasing exists, it can be very effective for allowing people to "leave the grief river" and move on with their lives. That is not to say it all happens during the ritual itself, but the ceremony would anchor and give roots for the healing process, and a year later, as I write, it does seem that way.
RTJ is a guide through the wild spaces. His instincts are hyper sensitive, yet he admits to not being infallible and in more ways is a mirror of a heightened explorer in all of us that is seeking the spirit world of the ancestors in a bold manner we can learn from. I refer especially to the courageous quality that lets us enter the wilderness. Bold, yet dropping into humbleness more and more, Jones is someone to keep a pulse on, for he is scouting the spirit world, being its herald.
This role is needed in todays world, and together, we take our turns healing and being healed, diving into darkness, returning with light shards. No gurus here. I believe in many ways that my numerous interactions with RTJ are part of a training for ever more situations that will arise in the future. At the base of the training is the question, "How do we give support for each other's evolution in an indigenous consciousness?"
Thankyou, Randy, for playing an important score within the symphonic story in the world I know in 2010 and beyond. Remain firm and subtle, ever loved."
Sobey Wing, Community Development Specialist, Intention Transformational Festival Founder