Via Negativa: The Gifts of Grief

Jun 5th, 2021 @ 9:00 AM
- @ 12:00 PM

(All Event Times Listed are Central Standard Time)
St. Mary’s Sewanee
770 St. Mary's Lane
Sewanee, TN 37375

Saturday, June 5, 2021
9am – 12pm Central 
Via Zoom

Using Francis Weller’s notions of “The Five Gates of Grief” in his book The Wild Edge of Sorrow, we will look at how grieving helps us identify larger patterns of dis-ease in our lives and communities. By allowing ourselves to grieve, we practice a kind of “spiritual hygiene” that can prepare us for more profound living. This is not readily apparent, primarily because our predominantly white western cultures have forgotten how to grieve. Weller reminds that knowing how to do so frees us to feel sorrow, “metabolize grief,” and grow in our persons.

Using a variety of sources—poetry, images, Weller’s book, and brief videos—this retreat involves listening, silence, observation, and conversation to as much degree as your comfort allows. It is for anyone who grieves for any reason or who experience deep sadness, or for those companions to the grieving who wish to support them. This retreat makes no promises to cure or eradicate sadness. However, it will equip you with imagery, poetry, opportunity, and affirmation to sew grief into your life’s quilt as a witness to the capacity of the human heart as much as a comfort.

Participants who wish to gain the most from this retreat will have read Weller’s book in advance.

The Wild Edge of Sorrow

Supplies needed, but not required: an image or reminder of a person, place or thing that you grieve, journal and paper for any notes or reflections, a candle.

The Rev. Carolyn Coleman is Rector at Saint David’s Episcopal Church in west Nashville. She is also a certified Conscious Dying Educator and End of Life/Death Doula. Well acquainted with grief herself personally and in the parish she serves, Carolyn took on Weller’s notion of “being an apprentice to sorrow” and discovered there are immense joys and untold gratitude in this formation. She shares these in addition to providing end-of-life care and planning as well as conscious dying education for caregivers who support the dying. You can learn more about her at

Bookings are closed for this event.