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" I want more of this experience of community showing up so fully and beautifully.

This is some of what will change the world." 

Peia Bird


The Sacred Work of Grief


DATE: Sat, Feb 10, 2018 | 10AM - 6PM

LOCATION: The Little Church, Portland, OR


Drinking from the Well is a Community Grief Ritual based on the work of traditional elders Sobonfu and Malidoma Somé from the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso in West Africa. This event is also part seminar and draws richly from the teachings of grief workers Francis Weller, Joanna Macy, Martin Prechtel, and Michael Meade. Through teaching, group sharing, cross-cultural ritual, alchemical empathy, rhythm, song, poetry, and open space for grieving, we will create a healing and transformative circle of soul-making and village-building to guide and support us through these uncertain and challenging times.

We have all experienced grief, whether through lost dreams, conflicted relationships, financial stress, illness, the death of loved ones, and/or from the constant rolling news of environmental devastation, social injustice, war and suffering. We will explore the rich landscape of grief, uncovering the depth of beauty and meaning that can be found when we come together as a village in shared remembrance, mourning, celebration and praise. By honoring these depths in community we discover a wellspring of strength and belonging as our hearts and souls are cleansed and restored to vitality and gratitude.​

We will work with a range of communal grieving practices such as sharing poetry and song, experiencing the healing power of rhythm through the primal beat of the drum, engaging in the transformative alchemy of deep sharing and listening, and creating a communal shrine in order to reclaim these traditional ways of being in a culture where we have been taught instead to privatize and suppress our pain. We invite you to join us for this rich and soulful gathering to discover the healing that comes from this sacred work, and to uncover the hidden wisdom that comes when we tend collectively to our losses.

​Participants are encouraged to bring photos and other mementoes or objects symbolic of the grief they are carrying as we will be building a shrine for the focus of the main ritual.


Lara Lwin Treadaway weaves group ritual, earth-based ceremony, poetry, music, song, storytelling, and ways of council to guide and support healing and transformation in community. She believes that sacred grief work, ancestral healing, earth reconnection, and the creative arts are pathways to restoring deep belonging within ourselves, between each other, and with the other-than-human world. Lara's personal story includes many rough initiations through grief, loss, and trauma, leading to a hard-won respect for the alchemical journey of transmuting pain into medicine for the world.


Colleen Caffrey is a musician, teacher and coach and has taught traditional West African drumming, facilitated drum circles in assisted living facilities, and guided groups in a rhythm and movement-based learning process called TaKeTiNa which she describes as “meditation without the sitting still.” In rhythm, she finds a deep connection to spirit and community.


This event is being offered in the spirit of dāna, similar in philosophy to the gift economy. Therefore the fee is suggested only, and no-one will be turned away through lack of funds. If the suggested fee of $50 - $100 is prohibitive, please email Lara at to explore what other ways you might be able to contribute. It is essential to register with us in advance as there are limited spaces available.



from participants of previous Drinking from the Well Grief Rituals

This is such important work, no matter where your grief is stemming from. It was very transformational for me and I highly

recommend it. Drawing on the wisdom of so many amazing teachers, Lara presents it masterfully.

~ Brenda Johnson, Ashland, OR

The work you are doing is critical for assisting folks like me that need this energetic movement and soul retrieval plus radical

support for it. I know I did some major work and felt honored to be present for my fellow villagers. I know that

my ability to open to my grief was because of the beautiful and authentic tribe I had surrounding me.

~ Elizabeth Izzo, Portland, OR


It was just what I needed. I went specifically to grieve about the Earth and all we are losing. Those of us who love the earth

and are awake to what is happening are carrying so much grief. Taking the time to feel and express grief for

disappearing species, desecrated places, and our difficult future does not mean we are giving up,

but rather it can re-energize us to continue our activism.

~ Sharon Blick, Eugene, OR

Here's a wonderful opportunity to reclaim energy you may be unknowingly wasting just trying to hold back despair.

My close friend, Lara, is a gifted facilitator bringing many years of study and practice to create the

safe space needed to grieve through despair into the power of community. 

~ Leonard Higgins, Eugene, OR

I cannot suggest enough how much this event changed me. For anyone feeling the loss of another or loss of a dream.

This event helped me, in my darkest time, to begin my healing process. Sign up, you will not be disappointed.

~ Scott Roberts, Ashland, OR

Thank you for facilitating this amazing day on Saturday! I do feel changed, and I certainly can say this experience

feels like one of those "watershed" experiences.

~ Lisa Mayfield, Portland, OR

You must experience this ceremony to whatever capacity you can. It is simple. It is powerful. And it is moving.

~ Blake S, Corvallis, OR

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