Grief Song Ceremony 

 There is so much to grieve! Loss of a loved one or job, pain and illness, national and global crises, mass shootings, environmental devastation, anxiety producing presidential pronouncements…all of these and more affect us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Places to be listened to deeply and compassionately are uncommon. Places to express the visceral sensations of grief in a safe, well-held communal context are even more rare.

The Grief Song Ceremony is just such a space. It is a day-long, well facilitated ceremony to cleanse grief and allow joy, aliveness, clarity and strength to emerge. In this way we become ready to actively create a more sane, sustainable, and healthy world.

The Grief Song Ceremony is based on traditional patterns of ceremonial grieving while weaving in the songs (made on the spot) of our own griefs. We hope you will join song elder Laurence Cole and Rob Miller for this beautiful event. The Grief Song Ceremony is now 8 hours long and includes a lengthy open grieving session.


SAturday, April 28th
10:00 Am to 6:00 pm

Spencer Creek Grange
86013 Lorane Hwy
Eugene, OR 97401

"I would like to thank you, Laurence and your staff of volunteers for providing a beautiful, healing grief ceremony.  You created a safe container, with clear healing intentions, in which I could sink into my feelings of loss, release some of them and gain insights.  The music deepened the process, creating connection with each other.  I felt a great deal of communitas unfold within the liminal space you held for us."
--Participant, 2018
"I have decades of experience of attending and leading healing groups. The grief and song ritual was a gem of professionally done mastery. It was structured very well to be safe, educational, inclusive, and effective. I would recommend it to anyone who is a basically stable person and wants to heal any kind of loss in a supportive group ritual." 
--Richard Grimaldi, Participant, 2017

"The Ceremony allowed to me to honor and grieve a younger self who wasted days of his life numbing out in isolation. As an addict in recovery, real raw grieving feels key for me to be able to step into life as a sober man seeking integrity, connection, and joyfulness. Cascadia Quest is bringing a gift to the PNW community. This tradition they inherit from the Dagara people is medicine. I admire how they called out the names of their Dagara teachers while creating a ritual that is authentically ours, here and now. In short, I'll be back."

--Participant, 2017

About Grief

What is Grief? We define it quite broadly as the nexus of emotions, pains, woundings, traumas and more from our present, past and even future events. Griefs can be personal, communal or global, existential or philosophical, emotional, physical or spiritual. They can be short-term, chronic, and even ancestral. Causes of grief include death of a loved one, accident or injury to self or others, loss of a job, divorce or separation, being the victim or perpetrator of violence, sadness about the environment, fears about the current socio-political situation, and feelings about the state of the world.

Grief affects us in as many ways as there are humans on the earth. Some common experiences are depression, anxiety, low self-worth, mental illness, emotional distress, spritual crisis, difficulty sleeping, poor appetite or digestion, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, relationship difficulties, uncontrollable anger, violence, war, early death, even genocide. Unexpressed grief can gnaw away at our insides and shorten our lives.

In the past and even today, traditional cultures around the world have known that people need safe, effective places to let go of their grief. Some Native American tribes would dig a hole, cry and scream their grief into it, then bury it. Catharsis at South African funeral processions is well known. Jews to this day have a practice of "sitting shiva" - visiting the bereaved for a week after a death - where expressions of grief are welcomed and expected. The Dagara people of Burkina Faso in West Africa have three-to-four day long, continuous, village-wide Grief Rituals. Traditional cultures know that the health and happiness of the community is based on the health and happiness of each person. Grief must be expressed for the community's well-being.

The Grief Song Ceremony is our offering of a contemporary, bioregionally appropriate grieving space. It is based on traditional patterns of ceremonial grieving while weaving songs (created on the spot) of our own griefs. Though a unique creation, it is strongly influenced by the teachings of Sobonfu Somé, a pioneer in bringing African healing ritual to the Western World. Through the medium of facilitated song creation, collective singing, compassionate witness, and open, cathartic grieving time, the Grief Song Ceremony allows for the safe, healthy expression and releasing of grief. Common results are feelings of ease, lightness, relief, empowerment and smiles. We hope you'll join us at the next Grief Song Ceremony.

To inquire about hosting a Grief Song Ceremony, contact Rob Miller at 458-201-2868 or