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The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief Paperback – September 15, 2015
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Noted psychotherapist Francis Weller provides an essential guide for navigating the deep waters of sorrow and loss in this lyrical yet practical handbook for mastering the art of grieving. Describing how Western patterns of amnesia and anesthesia affect our capacity to cope with personal and collective sorrows, Weller reveals the new vitality we may encounter when we welcome, rather than fear, the pain of loss. Through moving personal stories, poetry, and insightful reflections he leads us into the central energy of sorrow, and to the profound healing and heightened communion with each other and our planet that reside alongside it.
The Wild Edge of Sorrow explains that grief has always been communal and illustrates how we need the healing touch of others, an atmosphere of compassion, and the comfort of ritual in order to fully metabolize our grief. Weller describes how we often hide our pain from the world, wrapping it in a secret mantle of shame. This causes sorrow to linger unexpressed in our bodies, weighing us down and pulling us into the territory of depression and death. We have come to fear grief and feel too alone to face an encounter with the powerful energies of sorrow.
Those who work with people in grief, who have experienced the loss of a loved one, who mourn the ongoing destruction of our planet, or who suffer the accumulated traumas of a lifetime will appreciate the discussion of obstacles to successful grief work such as privatized pain, lack of communal rituals, a pervasive feeling of fear, and a culturally restrictive range of emotion. Weller highlights the intimate bond between grief and gratitude, sorrow and intimacy. In addition to showing us that the greatest gifts are often hidden in the things we avoid, he offers powerful tools and rituals and a list of resources to help us transform grief into a force that allows us to live and love more fully.
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From the Publisher
“The Wild Edge of Sorrow marries uncommon compassion with clear-eyed discernment in its invitation to the reader to become a soul activist in a soul-devouring culture. It is a comprehensive manual for conscious grieving and opening to the unprecedented joy and passion that result from embracing our sorrow.”
—Carolyn Baker, PhD, author of Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse and Collapsing Consciously
“The Wild Edge of Sorrow is extraordinary, and explores the ongoing pain of separation from community and nature that we all feel. Reading Weller’s book, I've realized that we have a lot of unprocessed grief to share. This book will be a gift to many.”
—Charles Eisenstein, author of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible
“Weller guides us into the difficult geography of sorrow and helps us find our way back to our souls. He brings much-needed medicine to a culture that relies upon distraction and anesthesia to cope with the daily losses that surround us.”
—Malidoma Somé, author of The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community
“This book rings a shivering bell of hope: that, when lifted by ritual and fellowship, the moist ground of grief actually contains a treasury of gifts that are our ancestral birthright. A delightful wisdom shines through every page of The Wild Edge of Sorrow.”
—Martin Shaw, author of A Branch From The Lightning Tree
“This book is not only a map to navigate some of the most tender and difficult regions of the psyche, but a work of literary art.”
—Kim Rosen, author ofSaved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words
“Quite possibly the best guidebook ever crafted on the art of grieving, this volume is also a brilliant and poetic handbook for becoming fully human, more exquisitely alive, and more able to contribute to cultural change. The Wild Edge of Sorrow invites us into the very heart of sorrow, profound healing, and a deepened communion with each other and Earth.”
—Bill Plotkin, author ofWild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psycheand Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche
"This book is a work of beauty: beauty in its language, its poetic sensibility, in its deep insights into the nature of loss and its effect on the human soul. Weller's book is, finally, a healing balm. It shows how our tears may be the redemptive waters we have needed for so long."
—Roger Housden, author ofTen Poems to Say Goodbye
"Francis Weller’s book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow is so deeply honest, insightful, and hopeful. His style of writing and speaking is poetic, and yet one feels as though they are in conversation with a neighbor. Should you purchase the book, read it with a pen by your side. You’ll want to underline and remember the rich prose on every page."
—Marianna Cacciatore, author ofBeing There for Someone in Grief
"The warmth of Weller’s voice and his beautiful language, will speak directly to your soul, in a way your soul has longed to feel embraced. His words will open your heart to receive your own most tender and vulnerable feelings as a gift to be cherished as they may bring forth a new depth of connection to the soul of the world."
—Dr. Risa Kaparo, author ofAwakening Somatic Intelligence
About the Author
- Publisher : North Atlantic Books (September 15, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1583949763
- ISBN-13 : 978-1583949764
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.52 x 0.53 x 8.44 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2022
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Top reviews from the United States
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A personal note: I have been a subversive of this ilk for a long time. At first, because my sorrow was just too much to hold in, but later it became an outright act of rebellion against the destructive cultural norm to stuff uncomfortable and "inconvenient" feelings. I feel that it is an insult to the integrity of my being and to everyone else's, so I refused, and still refuse, (no matter what anyone says) to stuff my pain and sorrow so others will feel comfortable. Giving myself permission to experience it fully, when it does come, has brought me through a great many tragedies in my life, renewing me in heart, mind, body, and soul - every time. I promise the same will happen for you. Every one of us has the right to experience all of our feelings without being shamed or told to "get over it, it's in the past." So take back your rights to feel what you feel without shame. Rebel!! (This personal note I have shared is probably "against the rules" But given the urgency of our situation I say, "let's break all the rules that hold our hearts and minds hostage and start again!") Love to you all. Namaste
I've been studying it. Digesting it. Living it. Honoring it, since I've opened it, a few weeks ago. It is s soul medicine, life changing, heart opening book. Francis Weller has written a masterpiece on the sacred work of grief. As he points out, we live in a grief-phobic, death-fearing society.
But I have news for you that you already know: Only a broken heart is capable of great love. He addresses not only our individual grief and sadness, but our communal and ancestral pain. As we live in these painful times, I found deep comfort in his words. It's full of gem after gem articulated with haunting beauty.
A few cases in point -
1. "There is some strange intimacy between grief and aliveness, some sacred exchange between what seems unbearable and what is most exquisitely alive."
2. "Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close."
3. "Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life-force.... It is not a state of deadness or emotional flatness. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It resists the demands to remain passive and still. We move in jangled, unsettled, and riotous ways when grief takes hold of us. It is truly an emotion that rises from the soul."
And my absolute favorite: “Those who undertake the full journey into their grief come back carrying medicine for the world.”
"Grief dares us to love once more."
— Terry Tempest Williams
Top reviews from other countries
If anyone is feeling anxious, or sad, or lost or depressed or uncertain about what to do in the face of what is happening in the world right now, buy this book to wake up and grieve for what is happening, and for all that we have lost over the last 2000 years of patriarchy, the oppression, exploitation, loss of soul, warmongering towards other people, nature and the earth and her resources.
We need first to grieve and feel in order to reconnect and heal.
Love to all