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On Healing Ground – Harmony Woods Communal Grief Retreat

March 2 @ 9:00 am - March 3 @ 5:00 pm

Join us for this powerful communal grief retreat.

Saturday 9am – 9pm

Sunday 9am – 5pm

We carry grief of all kinds. Joy and sorrow are a main staple of our daily life. And this ancient wisdom teaches us that our culture is sick not because we grieve too much, but because we don’t grieve enough. We aren’t given permission to fully grieve.

Many of us feel alone and isolated in our grief.  Western cultures tend to have a “don’t ask for help” and a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. It is forced down and shamed until it turns into a personal pathology rather than collectively held and honored. We are not meant to grieve alone!

When grief is not processed, it often gets passed down through the generations and can come out in harmful ways. But we can choose differently.  We can reclaim our natural ability to heal alongside one another.

Grief is not something to get over but to be embraced and cherished for the love that it is. It is ok to hurt, we just need each other to collectively hold that hurt and support one another to carry what we cannot carry alone. Sometimes we can get stagnate and drown in our grief because we aren’t given a way and a community to allow it to move through us.

This medicine helps us regain our interconnectivity. This being human is no easy task and part of our challenge in life is learning to be more human. To celebrate the full range of our human experience and that means our deep sorrow. But touching on that agony is often scary and why we need companions to journey with us through the tunnel of grief until we come out the other side.

The ritual includes talking circles, singing and drumming, poetry, movement, practice in sacred listening, witnessing and being witnessed, ceremony, sharing food and quiet time. The heart of the retreat is a ceremony inspired by Sobonfu Some and shared by Pacific Healing Circles.

The work is also inspired by the Five Gates of Grief from Francis Weller:

  • Everything we love we will lose,
  • the places that have not known love,
  • the sorrows of the world,
  • the things we cannot even name that we ache for, and
  • intergenerational or ancestral grief.

$300 for the weekend (food not included)

Payment plans, scholarships, and work trades are available upon request.

Questions or to be added to the waitlist: Please email harmonywoodsretreat@gmail.com



Laurence Cole is a well-known song leader and respected elder with long involvement in grief work, men’s work, and many other aspects of healing and enlivening the human spirit. He has been co-facilitating Grief Retreats since 2009 and was blessed to have experienced this ritual with Sobonfu Some. In addition, he has been offering a ritual called “Grief Song,” at singing events for the past 7 years.

Assisted by Kirsten Angell  and Christi Ortiz

After working in the fields of conservation, urban planning, sustainability and socio-political activism, Kirsten eventually hit a wall of despair. The desire to be present for the raising up of her three children, and now a grandchild, in a world that appears to be unraveling, forced her to look outside of the usual therapeutic practices to heal and reconnect with her purpose. 

Her practice is to support others in their healing by combining group work and the healing modalities that she has found helpful in her own journey. She has studied the art of grief tending with Therese Chauvet and Laurence Cole, ancestral healing practices and the reclamation of animistic perspectives with Daniel Foor, Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects, as well as multiple other modalities with teachers that have given her a sense of renewed perspective, purpose and resilience in the face of whatever may come. A true proponent of The Great Turning, Kirsten is humbly and continually working towards developing her own level of awareness and is actively supporting the collective shift away from the colonialist and separationist mindset and into a deeper, more reciprocal relationship to Life and Love.

Christi Ortiz is a licensed therapist, spiritual director, author, and founder of Harmony Woods Retreat Center. She has been providing grief support individually and in groups for the past 18 years. She understands that all people hold grief of some kind, and she has seen these grief retreats be one of the most powerful healing experiences for people even if they have done extensive grief work or therapy in the past. She is passionate about making these healing retreats more accessible to all people!


March 2 @ 9:00 am
March 3 @ 5:00 pm
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Harmony Woods Retreat Center
11507 S. Keeney Rd.
Spokane, WA 99224 United States
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