Grief, Loss, & Transition: A Pagan Perspective
Friday, Sept. 18, 6:30pm-9pm
Location: Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship - 1241 Ceres Dr., Lafayette, CO
Rev. Soltahr Tiv-Amanda, M.A., LPC - A graduate of the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology program at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, Soltahr is a therapist in private practice and has taught at Naropa, CU Boulder, and Regis University in Denver. She has been a priestess on the spiritual path of the Goddess for over 30 years. As a priestess of the Goddess, she facilitates solar, lunar, and public or private ceremonies. As an ordained minister, she is available to perform all-inclusive weddings, births, passings, and other transitional rite of passage ceremonies. Soltahr has studied Shamanic healing techniques from a teacher of Hopi lineage, the late Moonhawk, and Shamanic practitioner and retired Jungian analyst Terry Keepers. She has been a Reiki Master/Teacher since in 1994. Soltahr also acts as a consultant to various organizations and educational institutions regarding multicultural issues, as well as supervising other therapists to help them to provide culturally competent care for their clients.
Rev. Derek Wrigley, R.N., ADF (Davin Mac Lugh) — Rev. Wrigley became pagan in the 1990's learning about Wicca and studying Taoism. He has dedicated his life to the healing of body, mind, and spirit. Derek trained in Core Shamanism and earned a 2nd degree in Reiki as well as a 2nd degree blackbelt in Tang Soo Do while still in high school. In 1998 Derek became a massage therapist and opened a successful practice for nine years in Oregon. Moving to Bakersfield CA in 2007, Derek went back to school and became a Registered Nurse and is working in a critical care unit. In 2009 he founded Kern County Pagan Circle, a local eclectic pagan meetup that still meets weekly. In 2010 he joined ADF and founded and led Cottonwood River Protogrove till 2014. He was ordained as a priest of ADF in 2015. When not working as an RN. Rev. Derek provides pastoral counseling, public and private ritual, and magic as he does his part to re-enchant the world. He is a husband, father and step-father. He shares his home with three dogs, a snake, and a handful of fish.
Mari J. Golan, M.A. - As a Counselor and Life Coach, Mari has dedicated zir life to helping those who resist conventional social expectations in order to generate healing, meaning and purpose in their lives. Zie graduated from the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology M.A. program at Naropa University, and now operates a private practice that serves clients who follow alternative spiritual and religious paths. Zie also specializes in LGBTQ Issues, alternative relationship models, and trauma recovery, and offers services to individuals and groups. Mari's journey into paganism began when zie left zir orthodox Catholic upbringing to explore first Solitary Wicca, and later polytheism with a home hearth practice that centers around the Norse pantheon, ancestor work, and building right relationship with nature. Mari also served two terms as president of zir Alma Mater's pagan student organization, and now serves as the Senior Administrator for Mountain Ancestors Protogrove, ADF.
Rev. Wm. E. Ashton, ADF - Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Rev. Ashton attended Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado where in 2007 he graduated with a degree in Religious Studies, minoring in Psychology. Currently residing in Longmont, CO, he is the Grove Organizer and founder of Mountain Ancestors Protogrove. First joining ADF in 1997, Rev. Ashton shortly thereafter went on religious walkabout for nearly a decade, taking time away from his polytheist practice. After much soul searching, he returned to ADF in 2009 with renewed perspective and awakened passion. On February 8th, 2014 he was ordained as a priest in ADF. He enjoys playing music, writing, community service, activism, and sharing a larger vision of how a polytheist perspective can lead to human understanding and acceptance.
Casey McCarthy, M.A. - A graduate of the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Program at Naropa University, Mr. McCarthy is a therapist and shamanic practitioner in the Northern Seidr Tradition. He has been active in the pagan community for the past 5 years working in a religious, performance, and technical capacity. He has been practicing occultism for 21 years in a lineage emphasizing western esotericism passed down through his family. In his therapeutic practice he emphasizes working with severe trauma and dissociation using modalities of trauma informed care, and existential and transpersonal approaches to therapy. Mr. McCarthy is also a professional ritual facilitator and consultant with over 10 years of experience. He is a proud Colorado native who resides in Lafayette, CO.
FRIDAY KEYNOTE Meeting Again for the First Time: The Care and Feeding of our Ancestral Lines - As we grow older both as a religion and as individuals, we as Pagans are seeing the advent of more ancestors, as our elders are now passing between the veils. Many of us who grew up in other religious paradigms are digging deep within as we invent and follow new ways to bring meaning to these passages. We’ve never been a path to be guided by fears, so how can we honestly and heart fully explore together how to best greet, honor and seek aid and guidance from our ancestors? Come join me in looking at this subject from the spiritual, as well as the psychological perspective. We invite you to bring a symbol or item from an ancestor of yours, be they biological, or spiritual.
Don’t Fear the Reaper: Making Relationship with Death and Dying - As we enter the time of year when we see life receding, we can begin to contemplate death. Of all of the things that permeate our time on this planet, death is the most constant...it is also one of the most avoided. Death and it’s profound effects upon our lives are central to the human experience and yet for many it is a difficult subject. Whether it is the literal death of a loved one, or the metaphorical death of a job or relationship, we all experience deaths of varying degrees all the time. These can be opportunities to practice relationship with ending everyday. What if we were able to acknowledge death’s existence in a tangible way and make relationship with it, to allow it to become part of our everyday lives and practices? By ceasing to distance ourselves from death we can begin to contemplate it’s profound impact on our worldview. This presentation will focus on the ways that we can make relationship with death. Participants will explore the process of creating a death practice that allows for both expanded perspective on death as a force in our lives, as well as conversation around how we can create right relationship with death.
Pagan Future, Christian Past: Becoming More Than Our Histories - Although it is not often spoken about, many pagans carry with them old wounds from their Christian upbringings and from the losses that accompanied their transitions away from these beliefs. For some of us, even as we first entered into Paganism, we found ourselves hurt and confused by the traditions we were raised in. We may have felt these things even as we felt exhilaration at finally having found a path that matched our deep wisdom about the world. Sometimes, we hold onto the pain in our lives because it means something about what we've been through. It helps us remember how strong we've been, and also the ways that we've been hurt. But sometimes, it can be hard to integrate that pain into our new lives, and we find ourselves coming back to it over and over again. Old wounds can influence our lives in both obvious and subtle ways, and when our pain comes from a loss of belief or worldview, it can be a very hard pain to heal. Many of us find it easy to forget the losses we sustain when we are in the midst of creating something new. For this reason, although we may have left our Christian beliefs, many of us have likely never taken the time to mark that transition, consciously letting go of the religious pasts that we no longer connect to, in order to make space for new meaning and room for spiritual growth. This event will combine informative talk, storytelling, and interactive discussion to offer attendees an opportunity to express that process through the practices of personal narrative and ritual. Participants will explore their own stories of religious or spiritual change, and create a transition altar to acknowledge the group's collective pasts and futures.
Outdweller: Exploring Personal Loss & Grief as a Cultural/Societal Outsider - Dehumanization is only the beginning of creating divisive exclusivity. Following closely behind are marginalization, disenfranchisement, and a complete disconnect from participation in civic systems. This is not a new practice found in modern First-Nations movements and consciousness raising topics like BlackLivesMatter; this practice of "other-making" has been found throughout the history of our world, and is reflected in the mythological cycles of Indo-European language-based cultures. Join in this exploration of the loss of humanity and inalienable rights, and the grief caused by the transition from a rights-bearing person into one of the ever-growing number of "other-kin". WARNING: This presentation will have many trigger opportunities with regard to one's own privilege, as well as possible triggers into our own Ancestral priviledge-rooted responsibilities.
Hosting the Morrigan: A Pagan Primer on Coping with Grief - We are all touched by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. This presentation is designed to share an understanding of the stages of grief and loss, what the process of grief work entails, and some useful tools to help with the process of dealing with pain and sadness that naturally arises with the loss of a loved one in ways that are particular to neopagans and polytheists.