THE importance of time, care, and community when people die, or are bereaved, can’t be overstated. And, yet, for many people, these are times of loneliness and isolation. Returning to the Alpujarran market town of Órgiva this spring is the Sacred Circle Training Co., a social enterprise that provides its internationally renowned ‘End of Life Doula’ preparation course.
Starting with a five-day retreat at the House of Light from 1-6 April, the course then continues for 12 months online, providing high quality materials and facilitation.
Alexandra Derwen, founder and lead facilitator, says: “You may have heard the term ‘doula’ in relation to birth. Coming from the ancient Greek word for ‘servant’, a doula is a lay person who offers companionship, advocacy, and emotional support. As well as attending at births, doulas are found at death and times of grief.”
Alexandra add: “Many course participants lean how to apply spirituality in serving the dying and bereaved, make peace with the sacred darkness, and embrace being in a global community of kindred spirits.”
“By remembering the lost death rites of the European traditions – and working with the ancestors of our land, place, and space – we are guided towards the right relationship with the other-than-human world. Coming together with stories of death, loss and grief helps us to celebrate our humanity and find connection in our shared mourning.”
“Who is called to this work? Frequently, it is accomplished people who have been burnished in the fires of death and loss themselves. Maybe they wished their loved one had been supported to die at home. They now want to help other people who are dissatisfied with a clinical approach to death and our limited modern funeral practices. The retreat is ideal for those who seek a more spiritual depth and closure afterwards.”
Death doulas serve at palliative or hospice type deaths, and provide support in the community following a sudden or violent death, after the loss of a baby or child, or when someone takes their own life.
Says Alexandra: “If we believe in a ‘good death’ for one person, it applies to all people. As such, death doulas are radical allies in the fight for social justice. Being a doula is about being in the community; it’s not a job performed alone.”
The retreat takes place in House of Light, a beautiful space in Órgiva dedicated to transformational healing and body work.
For more information, please see Journey With Death or email email@example.com. Sacred Circle Training Co. has ‘Open Circles’ for the curious running through February and March, where questions can be asked.