The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief (Paperback)
The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and be stretched large by them.
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.
About the Author
FRANCIS WELLER, MFT, is a psychotherapist, writer, and soul activist. A master of synthesizing diverse streams of thought from psychology, anthropology, mythology, alchemy, indigenous cultures, and poetic traditions, he has introduced the healing work of ritual to thousands of people. The core of his work is creating pathways to reclaiming our indigenous soul, what psychologist Carl Jung called the "unforgotten wisdom" that resides in the heart of the psyche. To further his work, he founded and currently directs WisdomBridge, an organization offering educational programs that seek to integrate the wisdom from traditional cultures with the insights and knowledge gathered from western cultures.
“In The Wild Edge of Sorrow Francis Weller offers his readers a breath-taking and dramatic journey of inner discovery into personal pain resolution, planetary healing, and soul development. It is an essential publication—one that offers precious guidance and insight for those who are strong enough, as well as mature enough, to probe and challenge the darkness.”
“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 of Saved 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 of Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche and 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 of Ten 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 of Being 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 of Awakening Somatic Intelligence