$65 – $125

Community Grief Ritual

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Sequoia Lodge

2666 Mountain Blvd

Oakland, CA 94611

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Community Grief Ritual, November 9, All-day event led by Madeleina Bolduc and Coby Leibman, 9:30am -5:30pm @ Sequioa Lodge in Oakland, CA

In these cataclysmic times, living in what Michael Meade calls the "slow apocalypse," despair can be dangerously seductive. Our lives may feel inadequate to the terrible momentum we see around us, but it is in those moments that we must remember the difference between despair and grief.

While despair traps us in the bog of despondency or blame, grief carries us into life, calls us into a deeper engagement with who and what we love. And even as we are losing them, true grief wants to exalt their beauty.

If we let grief move us into expression, it will sing the blood into our songs, colour the vividness into our paintings and slip the poetry between our words.

Rumi says, "all medicine wants is pain to cure." And so we must cry out in our weakness, our ineptitude, our beautiful inadequacy and make of it an invitation that medicine might reach through and towards us." -Toko-pa Turner

Grief is Medicine! It is so vitally important in these times for us to learn to make beauty from grief. To take the vast grieving of our times and our hearts, and as a community, compost it into new life. Grief helps us build our capacity to stay connected and feel the depth and challenges of life without dissociating into despair. From the depths of our collective wails perhaps we can sing into form the seeds of new life to create a song of hope to meet the great challenges of these times.

Madeleina and Coby have attended and helped organize grief rituals, with Sonbonfu Some and Malidoma Some, for the last 20 years. The grief ritual will be held, holding the lineage of these two teachers, along with other practices that Madeleina and Coby have been given permission to use from their teachers. The first half of the day we will be approaching our grief through writing, somatic work, ritual practices, and clearing and setting of intentions. After lunch we will be entering into the community grief ritual space which will last until the end of the day.

The basic structure of a grief ritual entails collectively creating a ritual space, and engaging in group song and drumming to open our capacity to grieve. Individuals will go up and grieve at a communal grief shrine that will be created collectively throughout the day. If you choose to go to the shrine and grieve, which could look like crying, wailing, sitting silently, yelling, or a multitude of other expressions, a partner from the community will accompany you to hold space silently standing or sitting behind you. The ritual can last several hours and is a little more complex than we can hope to describe in a write up. We will give careful instruction of the ritual and structure at the actual event. There will be many helpers supporting and holding the space with Madeleina and Coby that can assist you at any time. If you have any further questions we are happy to answer them ahead of time.

As part of our grieving, we will be honoring the living story of the Native people of the east bay, Huichun territory, and the on-going struggles in solidarity with Sogorea Te and other native organizations. A portion of all proceeds will go to Sogorea Te and Sonbonfu's organization, Walking for Water, to honor the story of the land that we are on and the people holding the lineage of the traditions we are holding.

Afterwards there will be an integration space and potluck for us to share our experiences and be together. Details of what to bring and how to prepare will be sent when you register.

Grief rituals are a gift to our communities and take a lot of organizing, deposits and coordination to make them work. We sincerely and adamantly ask that you please RSVP and buy your tickets early to support this work. Thank you!

Sobonfu on Grieving:


Sobonfu on Death:


Martin Prechtel on Grief


cost: sliding scale $75-$125 If you would like to attend and don’t have the funds, please contact us with your situation as we do have a few spots available for scholarship and discounted rates, especially for folks coming from marginalized communities. For all others folks, we humbly ask that you pay the community rate of $100, or the higher rate of $125 to help others attend. In this way we can afford the cost of renting a beautiful, more spacious and kinder space, donate to our lineages and pay ourselves for the time of effort of creating the event and our years spent in training and attending.

We recognize that in many cultures, Ritual work is often "free" of monetary contribution for the community. We love this. And, of course, those holding the ritual are taken care of by that community; fed, sheltered, given cloth and animals for subsistence. We also recognize that we don't all live together in village, and thus it becomes necessary to work with the modern currency we all share.

From the book 'The Smell of Rain on Dust, Grief and Praise' by Martin Prechtel:

"Grief, if not metabolized, almost always goes to some form of accusatory violence in the end. Either externalized, exported, or internalized - or all of the above.

It's needful for the peace of a people, peace of the human heart, peace of the earth, for grief to be there, not transcending on a bliss journey to avoid grief.

We need a culture of passionately gradual people who can hear, give, and truly feel the deep weeping grief inside the absurd platform of hate caused by the writhing of human pain. Instead of compulsively defusing the situation, these cool people would know to find and digest the grief through the whole bigger 'story' of life, knowing it is hard in our frustration not to always want to fight against 'something' to make it alright.

How relaxing it would be if there really just was a bunch of bad guys who you had only to depose to make the world all fixed up. But that's too simple and the source of even more loss, because in the instance of trying to cure it all by force you plant the next round of the sickness of revenge. So what do you do?

Get courageous.

Become a person. Make beauty out of grief. Become real people who might have untenable rotten ideas, but who in the end grow into solid old people who are generous and unconniving, people who know things and don't just see everything as a business opportunity. Be courageous, make your hate into an art of love beyond your wants, and stop sending undigested grief in the form of sorrow frozen into hate into the arms of the future. Hand over the world with some modicum of the possibility for peace".

Madeleina and Coby's Bios:

Madeleina Bolduc has been cultivating the art of medicine and ritual for twenty five years. Raised in the creative crucible of the Naropa University, she was trained by Tibetan meditation masters, artists and indigenous elders in the practices of everyday magic, consciousness and world wisdom traditions since she was a child. She is a Holistic Practitioner, integrating Clinical Medical Herbalism, traditional foods, Chinese, Mayan, Tibetan and Energy Medicine, spiritual counseling, somatic practices, and indigenous wisdom, as given permission by her teachers. She is an educator of clinical and Elemental Herbal Medicine, a lineage holder of Buddhist meditation practices, a ceremony officiant, and an artist. She has been both visiting teacher and core faculty at various herbal schools. Currently, Madeleina is teaching a myriad of classes, including the Elemental Herbal Wisdom Immersion that starts at the beginning of each year, and holds a private practice. She was a student and friend since 1995 of the beloved, late Sobonfu Somé, is a devoted student of the illustrious maestro, Martín Prechtel since 2000, attending his school, Bolad's Kitchen for the last 10 years (www.floweringmountain.com), and is training with master teacher Adam Gainsberg in Open Human Heart work.

As a re-Weaver of Culture, Madeleina is passionately dedicated to the preservation and cross-pollination of intact wisdom and healing traditions, while infusing them with fresh color and perspective. She loves teaching people about the wonders of Plant Medicine, the Vitality of our Hearts, our relationships to the Elements, and the incredibly diverse ways in which we can come alive and Praise Life!

Coby Leibman has studied the art of ritual for over 15 years. His primary teachers have been:

Martin Prechtel-10 years participating in ritual with Martin and attending his school in New Mexico (Bolad's Kitchen).

Malidoma Somé- 12 years of assisting and completing trainings with Malidoma including the IAST program and Kontomble training).

Sobonfu Somé- Coby attended and helped with grief rituals with Sobonfu for +8 years and has worked closely with the community here in the bay area holding her lineage.

Coby has also trained with Keith Pashe and Shane Pashe from Dakota Tipi for 10 years and worked with many local native communities as an ally and support in their rituals and practices.

Coby is a chef, a wild forager, a lover of plants, people and all wild beings. He creates community events on a regular basis to build community, culture and vitality. He runs youth rites of passage programs in Sonoma County and does outdoor wilderness and somatic therapy with youth and adults. He runs his own private chef business connecting clients with wild foods and medicines of the North Bay. He also runs a private practice as a SE Counselor. Coby has a great love for the holy and the amazing capacity of our hearts and our communities to heal and overcome the greatest challenges of our times.
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Sequoia Lodge

2666 Mountain Blvd

Oakland, CA 94611

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