The Medicine of Grieving

…an extensive online course

for learning to facilitate

trauma-sensitive spaces for grief and grieving

„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

Why Could Grieving be Important Today?

We live in times of profound and fast change and there many of us hold great pain about the state of our planet earth as well as the incredible hardship that our fellow human beings suffer from.
More and more people are becoming aware of this on a global scale, and are suffering from the manifold current and future losses that our community of life is facing.

In shock we watch how unbearably slow the efforts to protect our climate or to save biodiversity are progressing or even failing instead.

The ongoing pandemic also brings with it great losses for everyone: Relatives that die or suffer from long term effects, people in hospitals are hardly able to stand the hardship there, people out in the streets or trapped in violent homes are living under inhumane circumstances.

All of us are concerned by the suffering of those who lost their work and livelihood or who have been living in poverty anyway, as well as the suffering of countless people in all parts of the earth whose daily existence is being dictated by oppression, hunger and calamities.

What kind of world is it that we are leaving behind for the children of the future?

How can we be able to not push aside the pain about our world’s situation today and about everything that is still awaiting us, but to take it serious, without becoming individually or collectively traumatized and embittered?

To hold space for grief and grieving in my experience can be a very practical way of offering some relief in the face of suffering and despair, so we will not be paralyzed but can continue to act and eventually act even more effectively.

Grief work can offer solace and ultimately likely make it easier to find life nurturing ways of processing personal and collective hardships.

“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

Meeting your Mentor & How The Medicine of Grieving Started?

The 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 kind of 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!

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 Ecocentric Culture Education, 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.

„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.)

⚓ An all-community-call once a year

So our whole village can meet and greet around a virtual campfire to connect with each other, as well as for some life Q&A-time 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 well as Sinti and Roma people.

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, Sinti, Roma 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, Sinti, Roma 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! 🙂

One Course – Two Options

1) Self Paced / Free Flow

Our Basic Package includes all course material as well as access to our online community space. It includes everything described above and is especially suitable for people who enjoy studying on their own, in their own rhythm and pace.

If you really want to participate, but are facing financial challenges that make it impossible to pay our fee, you are welcome to get in touch with us via our Contact Form.
We believe that every single person who feels called to this kind of work will be needed (and probably already is), so we are happy to find a way for you to get access to the material. 

2) Premium Support

You are sincerely committed to grief work and already or almost ready to facilitate grief processes for others?

Then you might really benefit from more extensive and personal support:
By booking our limited Premium-Support in addition to the Grief Course you will receive:

  • Four 1:1 coaching sessions with Elke – To make sure you get custom made support for your own unique situation (each session is about an 1h long, they need to be scheduled within one year).
  • Unlimited opportunity for questions and answers for one year – which means that ALL of your questions will be addressed.

(There are always only a few Premium Support spots available at a time.)

You can book both options listed above right here

You are welcome to register directly through our online-course platform Elopage right here, where you will be able to add the Premium Support during the booking process.

We are looking forward to connecting with you soon!