The Medicine of Grieving

…an online course in English, to learn how to hold space,
so that the medicine of grieving can work it’s natural magic!

„To begin remembering our Indigenous belonging on the Earth back to life

we must metabolize as individuals the grief of recognition of our lost directions,

digest it into a valuable spiritual compost that allows us to learn to stay put without outrunning our strange past,

and get small, unarmed, brave, and beautiful.“

Martín Prechtel

Learn how to embrace grief & the medicine of grieving, and how to practically facilitate and hold space for others and yourself to:

  • Transform emotional pain into medicine for oneself and the community.
  • Feel happy, lighthearted and joyful again, even after facing great losses.
  • Become a midwife for an amazing and brighter future that can be birthed only through the labor of grieving.

“We experience conflicts, loved ones die or suffer, dreams never manifest, illnesses occur, relationships break up, and there are unexpected natural disasters.

It is so important to have ways to release those pains to keep clearing ourselves.

Hanging on to old pain just makes it grow until it smothers our creativity, our joy, and our ability to connect with others.”

Sobonfu Somé

Your mentor & how The Medicine of Grieving started

Elke Loepthien-Gerwert

Elke is the founder of the Circlewise Institute and has been developing and teaching transformational training-experiences for nearly ten years:

In Deep Nature Connection, Nature Based Ritual Work, Circlewise Leadership and other topics of Connective Community Design & Facilitation,

as well as mentoring adults and coaching and consulting for a variety of companies, communities and NGOs.

Elke’s story of how this journey began…

“Over twelve years ago I was a desperate mother of a toddler, nearing a divorce, deeply troubled by the stage of the world and humanity, hungry to contribute something of value – and looking for some way to process all of my overwhelming emotions in order to just stay sane. 

It was then that I met my future teacher and friend Sobonfu Somé, a keeper of rituals from the Dagara people in Western Africa.

Learning to grieve was a life saver! 

“In the years that followed I learned how to grieve (it did keep me sane!) – and I had the great luck to experience, host and co-facilitate grieving rituals with Sobonfu that served hundreds of people over the years.

I have become an avid admirer of the natural and inherent superpower that grieving truly is, and that we as human beings are gifted with from the moment we are born.” 

A super power available for all of us

“Because of these rituals I could witness first hand the truly miraculous effects that well held grieving space can have even on people that were burdened with complex and compounded forms of grief and emotional pain caused by severe traumata and extremely painful losses. 

I got plenty of opportunity to taste and feel the incredible relief and sense of full aliveness (in myself and many many others) that can come with free grieving in it’s natural forms, and the feelings of delight and even bliss that return to life because of it.” 

It changed my personal and work life profoundly

“The medicine of grieving has been changing my whole work life as a teacher, course facilitator, counselor, mentor and coach tremendously, as well as my relationships to all of my loved ones. 

Understanding grief and grieving truly has become one of the most important ingredients for the effectiveness of my work as well as for my personal wellbeing and all of my relationships – as a mother, a life-partner, a friend, a neighbor and colleague. 

It helps me every day to not shrink back from waves of emotions rising (like I used to), but to create and facilitate safe spaces where grieving can easily and naturally happen, following a rhythm and flow in a sacred process, that can look and feel like some kind of miniature birth of a healthier, happier, renewed human being.” 

A journey of re-creating authentic grieving culture

After Sobonfu passed away in 2017 my own grief of losing her and everything that she had brought to our community, became a fuel for developing our own grief ritual, the „Grief Fire“, through which we continue to re-create a healthy grieving culture on a larger scale, many dozens of people at a time, each time we gather. 

And because it is such a fundamentally natural human skill, I know for certain that you can learn how to hold space for the magic of grieving, too!” 

„Grief does not change you.

It reveals you.“

John Green

The Content of The Medicine of Grieving

“This course is a soulful and practical distillation of all of my extensive research, deep reflections, creative design processes and most of all, of the grieving experiences I was able to witness.”

It will help you to

  • understand the core of what grieving really is (psychologically, physiologically, socially, mentally and spiritually) and WHY it is actually a wonderful thing,
  • gain insight into what actually happens during grieving in the body, brain and nervous system
  • recognise the psychological and biological dynamics that can prevent us from experiencing the innate wisdom and emergent powers of grieving,
  • offer practical tools that can help yourself and other people to move through these blocks with more ease
  • facilitate community and 1:1 events that can immensely enhance grieving processes
  • create core routines for cultivating your capacity to hold grief processes for yourself and for others
  • work with key ingredients for safe spaces in your personal and/or professional setting, so you can actually contribute to building a more grief-friendly culture
  • and so much more!

All of this in order to bring back to life one of our core abilities as human beings – the ability to grieve and to harvest the sacred medicine of grieving for yourself, for your communities and for our world as a whole.

Content of the Course

These are some of the chapter topics, each including between two and 38 lessons!

  • What is Grief?
  • The Obstacles to Grieving Fully
  • Holding Space for my own Grieving
  • 8 Key Areas for Holding Space for Grieving Processes
  • Key Ingredients for Cultivating a Felt Sense of Safety and Belonging
  • Spiritual Safety
  • Working with Ritual
  • Grieving Together and Supporting Others
  • The Long Term Perspective on Integration & Transformation

as well as several Q&A and Bonus Lessons.

„There is a general impulse to distract the grieving person – as if you could.

Joan Didion

Learning online – deeply

A commitment for a full on, alive and real-deal training

“Even though I have spent most of my professional life teaching and training adults – creating an online program has presented a major challenge for me.

Let me explain: 

All of my previous programs have been subtitled as “Lived Learning-Experiences”. 

That is because they are involving the body, the mind, the soul, the heart and the whole self.

So that whatever the topic is, can really be experienced fully – so it can then also be understood more deeply and embodied more easily afterwards. 

Now how could I possibly create such a level of depth of experience for you as a student through just computers? 

The answer is simple and striking: 

I can offer you content and advise – but the real work will need to be set up, designed and manifested by you! 

The more opportunity you create for yourself to actually practice what we will look into, the faster and more deeply you will learn.

A buddy for free

That’s why we offer you to bring a friend for free, that will also get access to all the course material, so you can listen to it together, reflect on it together, try out, practice and integrate it together. 

And the quicker your world around you will transform into a culture where grieving is being honored, supported and practiced in healthy ways. 

My ultimate reason for running this course (and running it in English, which isn’t even my native language) is to make some very essential knowledge and the tools that go with it available. My hope is that it can add a bit to building a culture where grieving is being honored, supported and practiced in healthy ways.

With all the potential that I see being on hold when people put their grief on hold, the medicine of grieving might really hold a key ingredient for the betterment of our human societies and with it for the hope of an actual future for us as a species. 

Your voice matters

My commitment is, to fully support you and all the people who sign up for this program to such an extend, that you can actually do this kind of work, with trust and skill and most importantly with heart, one fine day soon. 

Not to just copy and paste what you will be hearing here, but to do it in your own and unique way. 

Therefore I care all the more to learn what it is that you need, the challenges that you are facing, the curiosity and passion and longings that you’ve been holding around the topic of grieving.

Your needs and interests will be molded into the continuous development of this course.”

“There is a sacredness in tears.

They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.

They speak more eloquently, than ten thousand tongues.

They are messengers of overwhelming grief…

and unspeakable love.”

Washington Irving

What is inside The Medicine of Grieving?

All of this is included in your life-long access package:

🎥 At least 22+ hours of video teachings

All content tested and refined in our real life events with up to 100+ people as well as in 1:1 practice and with small groups. (Equivalent to a year-long in-person training.)

📕 Written manuals with the most important key teachings

So you can re-find quickly what you are looking for, right when you need it. You will also find links to our sources and recommendations for further resources, if you want to take your learning even deeper.

✅ Life-long access to all materials

You will always have access to the latest updates to this course, so that you can benefit from our continuous learning process.

🔥 Access to our community BaseCamp

To ask questions, share files, stories, experiences, support and connection among our growing community of grief tenders – you can continue to participate in it for as long as you want to.

🐒 An (optional) buddy

You can sign up a friend for free, that will get access to all course materials, so you can embark on the journey together – to make reflection and integration of everything you learn easy, fun and so much more interesting. (In addition to this you are also invited to reach out to other people within our course-community to connect and share.)

⚓ A monthly community call

So our whole village can meet and greet around a virtual campfire to connect with each other, as well as to ask questions to the community and our instructors.

🏆 A Certificate

Upon completion of the whole course content you will receive an online-course certificate in “Facilitating Grief Processes”.

🧡 A $30 donation for the benefit of indigenous culture and life ways

Your gift will go to the first Tracking School founded and directed by a community of Ju/’hoansi people of the Kalahari in Northern Namibia. You can find out more here:

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches.

If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers.

To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


“The “Medicine of grieving” course offered me deep insights into the inner work of grieving – and the art of holding the space for someone grieving.

Elke’s knowledge and experience goes beyond stage models and touches the deep questions of how to integrate hardships, share our grief and connect to what it means for each one of us, to be alive.

This course is not only about grief – but about community building and creating rituals.

I appreciate that Elke and Aaron create awareness for cultural appropriation and diversity and invite controversy.

In my experience this is rather rare and quite needed in contexts that deal with spirituality and ritual. 

The course content has helped me find diverse and enriching perspectives on grief, which I can transfer to my work as a mortician.

Beyond the content of this fantastic course, I found the network of people extremely valuable.

To share a sense of community while working with grief strengthens my roots.

The regular calls are a space to reflect and discuss experiences as a grief worker, gather support, ideas and collaborate in projects. ”

“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun.

Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure

that the world we leave our children

is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.

Barack Obama

For Collective Reparation, Equality and Justice!

We acknowledge the myriad ways of oppression and discrimination that have been inflicted on indigenous, black and people of color (BIPOC), as well as people who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and others).

As one small gesture for more equality in the world, we offer this course for free to those who identify as one of either.

So if you are BIPOC or/and LGBTQ+, you are welcome to just send us a short note, and we will grant you free access to the course.

NOTE: This is not a scholarship fund, and we do not assume that individual BIPOC or LGBTQ+ people do not have access to wealth – we see this rather as some tiny reparation effort, that we are offering with a sincere prayer for equality and justice. 

Come and Join us Now! 🙂

The course is completely self-paced and open for registration.

You are welcome to register directly through our online-course platform Elopage, right here: