items for grief ritual

Celebrating Light and Compost

Hello dear ones,

‘Tis the season of wonder as we celebrate the return of the light.


And I’m curious how you’re doing in these holy-days. 


I thought I’d share a few things that I do to decrease the amount of stress that seems to pile up. And if you’re grieving, this time of year can make you want to go hide in a cave. 


I wanted to give you an invitation to grief with my friends Joanna and will this Thursday.

I’ve mentioned them before…they’re the ones that have been holding online grief rituals since this pandemic began and it’s the best one I’ve found.


Here’s the info: Grief Tending Circle, Thursday, December 16th from 2-5pm PST / 5-8pm EST on Zoom. This is offered with honor and gratitude to the Dagara people and the lineage of grief ritual that comes from west Africa. This ritual was carried by blessed memories-Sobonfu Somé and Malidoma Patrice Somé, and has been influenced and deepened by this example.


 Reserve Your Spot Here


I’d love to hear about your experience if you go. 


And stay tuned, as I’m feeling called again to offer grief rituals in 2022!


Now, I wanna focus on the return of the light and talk about compost. 


Lately I’ve been hearing so much talk about letting go. This shows up often in grief work.


It’s such a capitalistic idea, like we can simply get rid of our grief or whatever is bothering us. 


It implies doing it once and being done, moving on or having closure; as if it’s an item we can throw away.


But when this comes to our grief, we might not be able to do this because our grief is tied to our love. 


So instead of letting go, I invite you to imagine placing it on the compost pile.


When you do that your grief then becomes part of a transformational process that needs time and attention to integrate it. 


If you’ve ever had a compost pile, then you know that you have to tend to it by turning it every so often and give it water too. It’s an intentional process.


This is also the time of year when we start to look back on the year and “let go” of things that no longer serve us and bring in new intentions.


This year, I’m going to do this differently and instead of letting go, I’m going to compost them instead. 


So I’m going to place these with intention on the pile that needs to be tended to, watered and turned every so often with focused attention. 


In this way I can integrate the lessons as nourishment and new life force energy for what’s to come. 

Yes! I love that much better than letting go.


So try that instead and let me know how it goes.


Now I want to share a practice that I’m doing to celebrate the return of the light which is what most religions are celebrating in some form at this time of year with Channukah’s miracle of the oil lamps in the Jewish tradition and the birth of Jesus Christ in the Christian one.


These holidays are all based on the pagan celebrations of the returning light at the darkest time of the year-the Winter Solstice.


Now I love Christmas, but I dislike the commercial focus of it. And if you’re grieving, it can be a really hard time of year with the obsession of it being the “most wonderful time of the year.” (I actually think it’s the opposite for many).



So here’s a simple invitation, inspired by my grief mentor, Francis Weller. 


Create an altar or separate sacred space in your home to light and the beauty of it, and celebrate it’s return. 

After the Winter solstice we begin to have more light each day as we head towards the fullness of summer.


So bring in candles, colors of gold, yellow, orange and white. Bring in symbols of sunshine and stars, miracles and delight.


One of my favorite things about this time of year is that many people put up outside lights so that the world becomes a magical place at night.


Why not leave them up for as long as you like? 


Which reminds me of how I deal with the pressure to have everything perfect and ready for Christmas itself…


Ya know that song-The Twelve Days of Christmas? Well, it’s not just a cute song-it’s actually the season of Christmas in the church calendar. So Christmas starts on Dec 25th and goes for 12 days until January 6th. (I recently learned it’s based on the the Scandinavian tradition of feasting for 12 straight days in honor of the light).


So, why don’t we celebrate all 12 days of Christmas then?


Let’s leave the lights and decorations up. Keep listening to your favorite songs if they bring you joy.


And if none of this brings you joy this year, then just don’t do any of it. 


Come back to creating that a beautiful altar for the sun and the light.


Okay, one more thing…



I’m doing a Giveaway on my Instagram account!


It’s to help spread the word of my Tending the Tenders, an online grief support group for therapists, counselors and wellness practitioners. They get support AND receive tips for working with their client’s grief. It starts on January 10th, 2022.


To enter-go to my Instagram account Beth_Erlander_Grief_Friend and –Like the giveaway and tag 2 wellness practitioners.


And if you win you’ll be gifted-


  • My favorite grief book-the Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller
  • A lined journal
  • A small blue glass spray bottle and pink Himalayan sea salt (to make salt water)
  • A red candle and a 2’ square piece of red fabric for your ancestor altar


Thanks everyone, thanks for being here with me.

I wish you sweet delight for composting at this return of the LIGHT!