The Fellowship is a year-long supported journey to learn from nature how to befriend death and grief, to savor the precious moments of your life.
Registration is closed for the 23-24 year, and will re-open next summer.
A Fellowship with Grief and Death: The Natural World as Teacher
It has long been understood that turning towards death brings a fuller, richer life into view, but in cultures where humans have placed themselves at the center, that view is often obscured by fear.
The Fellowship with Grief and Death is designed to help you align under the natural laws of creation and dissolution with the wild gods as your teachers, so that a deeper embodiment of your soul’s unique qualities can manifest. In their domain, you can see how things are for all earth's forms, with death as a benefactor of life. When your prayer forms to join that cycle, the gods appear, eager to show you how to find your untamed mind inside theirs.
Journeying with the wild gods is a process of inwardly evolving in the likeness of the wonders surrounding us. This is satisfying, but also critically important. Given the unsustainability of the dominant culture, we must turn to the teachers we've forgotten to remember, but who have always been ready to show us the way. The greater dying all around us, of humans and more-than-humans alike, demands that we get clear on what our own death requires, so that we collectively support the new energies trying to emerge and create a more sustainable future.
We will explore how to:
Discern the marks of our death- and grief-phobic culture
Bring Sacredness into wild wanders so that the gods can align the microcosm of your energies to what is authentic and life-sustaining
Develop practices and rituals that deepen your relationship with your ancestors and the gods of your landscape
Integrate the words of eminent teachers and storytellers who honestly depict our cultural predicament, and whose example can help guide our wondering.
Open into our wells of grief, so that our tears awaken the fullness of our being and gratitude becomes our compass.
The Fellowship includes these gateways to befriending death and grief:
Instruction in how Western culture diminishes our capacity to experience “good” grief and death, and what it looks like to live the antithesis of its constructs.
At-home practice in the skills of living a deeply experienced reciprocity with your landscape, and for courting its wild gods.
Reflection on how to navigate the soul edges being revealed by the wild gods.
Readings that inspire and skill you in how to live within the natural planetary cycles of creation and dissolution.
Somatic practices to locate and heal our cultural traumatic grief, and follow our body’s innate wisdom for letting go.
(see below for pricing details)
You are struggling to meet basic needs and have little expendable income.
(see below for pricing details)
You’re able to meet basic needs and have expendable income.
(see below for pricing details)
You comfortably meet basic needs and have ample expendable income.
Cost is offered on a scale that values economic justice, acknowledging systemic differences in folks' access to resources.
3 spaces at $960 = 3 payments of $320, or $864 if paid up front in full
3 spaces at $1080 = 3 payments of $360, or $972 if paid up front in full
3 spaces at $1275 = 3 payments of $425, or $1148 if paid up front in full
Sponsored (1 space):
If the tiered costs are a barrier, please send an email. Priority for a sponsor-paid space will be given to those who are living historically/currently marginalized identities (BIPOC, LGBTQI+, disabled folks).
Sponsoring a Fellow
If you come from wealth or privilege and/or have means to resources, please consider contributing towards sponsoring those who would like to attend but are prevented from doing so by financial need. See the application form to indicate your willingness, and thank you.
2 weekend retreats in the NC mountains*
Monthly 4-5 hour Fellowship meetings
Personalized support from Katherine and Karen
* Excluding food and transportation.
You will be asked to make a $150 deposit to hold your space. The deposit is non-refundable. Full payment or your first payment of three towards this Fellowship must be made by July 30. If you pay in full but are unable to participate, your deposit can be refunded as long as you let us know by August 15.
No refunds are issued once the Fellowship has begun, due to our need to cover its costs. Please make this choice carefully, as space is limited and we cannot admit new Fellows after the opening weekend, which is unrepeatable and necessary to engage the remainder of the year’s experiences. Also, it is important that your monthly attendance is consistent so that we can create a container of safety in relational sharing. We do understand of course, that life changes in ways we can’t anticipate. Please know that you can talk to us if further participation becomes untenable.
Registration for the Fellowship will open again Summer of 2024
A few years ago, I received these words on a New Year’s Day wander in the woods: You will spend the year contemplating your dead self. Soon after, death began making a strong appearance on my wanders, giving me opportunities to take up the question of what it means to die and explore it from different thresholds.
What I normally experienced as the backdrop to my life – i.e., the natural world – came to the foreground in a way I experienced as intent. Wanders became an invitation for the wild gods to speak. In their displays of synchronicities, I could see how the cycles placed a clear emphasis on life. I then wanted death to become my journeying companion, so that the soul edges I had long avoided could receive my loving attention.
As promised in the cycles, the consequence of this attention was more life. When death came that year for friends and family, I was able to draw from a deeper well of grief. I was inspired to sign up for death mid-wife training so that I could offer that care to my community. And then I was encouraged to offer what happened to me, to you.
With the spirits of this place whispering in my ear, I created the Fellowship with Grief and Death to offer the tools to journey in your landscape and receive its wisdom. Holding death as the foundation of our awareness, our effort will plant the seeds for a culture that embodies living and dying harmoniously with the earth that conjured us.
Led by Katherine Savage
Ceremonial support offered by Karen Delahunty
For many decades, Karen Delahunty has pursued a single thread of inquiry and action: 'Why do we continue to destroy the planet—our only home—even though we know we are doing it?' This insistent question guided her to study philosophy at St John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, her study of Eastern philosophy in Kyoto Japan, and her master’s degree in Transpersonal Ecopsychology at Naropa University in Boulder Colorado, and a month long study of ecovillages in Findhorn, Scotland. She worked ten years as Training Director for the International Retail Company, The Body Shop, where she passionately enacted the company's mission to use their shops as a platform for social /environmental justice and sustainable business practices.
Currently, Karen works inside faith institutions to motivate, educate, and advocate for Creation Care. She helped birth and now sits on the Steering Committee for the Interfaith Creation Care of the Triangle (www.interfaithcreationcare.org).
Karen's day job is as a bodyworker and somatic coach through her private practice in Raleigh NC. She also serves as lead trainer for The Center for Embodied Education in Pittsboro, NC. She believes that our psychic wound of separation from the Earth can be healed through the body as we come to sense our aliveness and deep connection to the planet and each other, through embodied presence.
Katherine is a teacher who knows how to be a student. She listens. She listens to nudges from spirit, to the divinations of nature, to her own soul’s cry, and to the needs of her human community. Her strengths as a facilitator stem from the place where her voracious intellect marries her tender heart. Through the Death Fellowship, these gifts emerge to create an experience where attendees are invited to deepen into their own listening, and practice answering the sweet, subtle calls.
This deepening seeps into every area of relationality: earth, psyche, culture, family. Because the container is held by the natural rhythms of the moon cycle and shifting seasonal tides throughout the turning of a full year’s time, the structure of the Fellowship itself is a lesson in integrating larger patterns of life/death into our lives. Within each gathering, participants are gifted a pause, an in-breath, a beat. In this liminality, soft and subtle BIG truths about our mortality emerge, asking to be seen, held, and integrated into the fabric of our overly human-centric paradigms.
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How is it organized?The Fellowship is a closed group with a maximum of 10 folks who meet for a year. The curriculum contains 5 modules, which are each given a 2-month focus. Fellows receive instruction in the first month, with opportunities to share what is arising related to that content. In the second month, after wandering with the wild gods and feeding them our carefully crafted questions, Fellows reflect together on what insight was gathered, name and tend their griefs and the life-enhancing practices they will move towards. Learning from each module maps onto subsequent modules. The Fellowship is therefore instructive, collaborative, responsive, and emergent.
What will it look like?The Fellowship commences on the Solstice with a weekend of story, ritual and teaching in the skills of being a Fellow. Subsequent gatherings are scheduled once a month, with a regular meeting day/time determined by the group once it has formed. The Fellowship concludes with a day of ritual and celebration in May. 4-5 hours are devoted to outdoor/in person meetings in Celo as long as the weather holds, so that you can experience in a wander how a powerful landscape can hold what our discussion has stirred up in you. In the winter, we Zoom for 3 hours each month and wander our landscapes on our own time.
Will meetings be recorded?No. Out of respect for the earth and to facilitate learning the etiquette of engaging its gods, technology use will be minimized. Mostly we seek real things in this Fellowship – actual company, books we can hold in our hands, and being outdoors. There is no online group space. We are cultivating the creation of relational resonance through live-time interactions.
Is the grief support provided in the Fellowship the same as a therapeutic grief circle?No. This is an educational path to develop skills and encourage self-inquiry around the intersections of grief and death in our unhealthy N. American culture. Grief certainly arises as Fellows come to understand what’s been done to them by this culture and why, and we provide somatic practices and a strong ritualized container for the emotional material that arises. Our gatherings encourage the sharing of experiences and insights so that you can receive intimate witnessing and holding, but they are not intended to be a therapeutic healing modality. **Please note: If you are currently experiencing acute grief from a recent loss and need personally attuned care as you move through course content, the active support of a counselor or therapist is strongly recommended. If you are having thoughts of ending your life, the Fellowship cannot serve as a responsible choice for addressing and answering your need for therapeutic support and guidance.