The Medicine of Grieving

…an online course in English, to learn how to hold space,
so that 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 & 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 see that in life it is necessary to grieve those things that no longer serve us and let them go.

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 it all 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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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! 

This online-course is a soulful and practical distillation of all of my extensive research, deep reflections, creative design processes and most of all of the amazing 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, 
  • build familiarity with its manifold expressions and variations, 
  • recognize the psychological dynamics that can prevent us from experiencing the innate wisdom and emergent powers of grieving, 
  • offer you practical tools how to move through these blocks with ease
  • and so much more!

All of this in order to live one of our core abilities in this life – the ability to grieve and to harvest its sacred medicine for yourself, for your communities and for our world as a whole.“ 

„Grief does not change you.

It reveals you.“

John Green

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! 

Now is that bad news or good news? 

Probably a little bit of both. 

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

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 all over the world, for the betterment of our human societies and for the hope of an actual future for us as a species. 

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 absolutely 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 foundational elements of this course.”

All of this is included…

At least 22+ hours of video teachings

All of which have been tested in our real life grief tending events with 100+ people as well as in Elke’s own 1:1 practice and with small groups

Detailed step-by-step manuals for the most important key teachings

So you can re-find quickly what you are looking for, right when you need it.

Life-long access to all materials

You will always have access to the latest upgrades 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.

An (optional) participant-buddy to connect with on a regular basis

To make reflection and integrations of all the learnings easy, fun and so much more interesting.

A certificate

With completion of the whole course you will receive a certificate (issued by the Circlewise Institute) as a trained “Grief Facilitator”.

A monthly Community Call

So our whole learning village can meet and greet around a virtual campfire to connect with each other.

A donation for the benefit of indigenous culture

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

For Premium-Users: Four 1:1 coaching sessions with Elke

To make sure that you get custom-made support for your own unique situation, each session 1 h long.

For Premium-Users: Unlimited opportunities for questions & answers

All of your questions will be addressed – and thus hopefully unfold their innate creative potential for your life and your work even more.

And the best for everyone: The chance to co-design the content

Your interests and needs will influence how the material is actually being created and developed. You will help us “set the 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


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

You are welcome to register directly in our course website here (pay through paypal) or send us an email through our contact form below, so we can write you an individual invoice.

Send us an E-Mail

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