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The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  595 ratings  ·  79 reviews
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 welco ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by North Atlantic Books
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Average rating 4.44  · 
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 ·  595 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Deeply spiritual, affirming, and very helpful. This is one of those books to return to and share with others. It helped me process, integrate, and move through my individual experience of grief and it gave me insight into other types of grief my loved ones experience, leading to greater connection and understanding.
Paul McCain
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this felt like a turning point in my life, where I will make a conscious effort to lean into my emotions rather than run from them out of shame. One of the biggest deathbed regrets people face is they wish they had the courage to express their feelings. Thanks to Francis Weller for publishing this beautiful book and encouraging me to live wholeheartedly and hopefully without this regret.
Susan Halvor
I loved this book. I first came across Francis Weller when he was interviewed in the Oct 2015 issue of The Sun. He brings a lot of wisdom and truth to the topic of grief, which was balm to my spirit as a hospital chaplain. He talks about the importance of metabolizing our grief, particularly in community. "We need to create circles of welcome in our lives in order to keep leaning into the world; to keep moving grief through our psyches and bodies, so we can taste the sweetness of life." (p. 14). ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Wild Edge of Sorrow is a supremely poetic book. It is a call to arms for us to take on our apprenticeship with grief and to walk through the five gates of grief. This has been is a life-changing read for me.

I’ve observed loud voices in the wellness community shy away from the darkness, whether it is dealing with racist belief systems, or simply being uncomfortable with conflict, in general. This book is not for the light and love brigade AND THANK THE GODDESS it isn’t.

Our cult of happiness
Candace Whitney Morris
Stunning. This is such a grounding and necessary book when you are grieving or if you want to understand what it's like for someone else who might be grieving. Mystical and Jungian, the words ring ancient and true and I've underlined nearly half the book. It will stay on my nightstand to keep company with other books that I use as references time and time again...along with "Care of the Soul" and "Women who Run with the Wolves." ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Wow. Beautiful book that touched my heart over and over. Very much recommend!
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can’t begin to say how beautiful and necessary this book is, not just when you’re grieving, but as a way to understand how we can go about dealing with the heaviness of life and all it’s difficulties. There is so much we neglect to acknowledge and process in this modern world, and it takes a toll on us in ways we can’t even comprehend. Our modern society has forgotten how to grieve, how to live with various heartaches and traumas, which tends to compound and manifest in very toxic outcomes. Th ...more
John Larrabee
Oct 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book was recommended to me by someone I respect, but it wasn't my cup of tea.

I'm just not into participating in ancient rituals like sitting in a circle of strangers and wailing about my troubles thru gushing tears and the beat of drums.

I was also distracted by the frequent use of flowery prose, which is not only unnecessary but counterproductive to covering such a sensitive subject with the seriousness it deserves.

I'm astonished by the number of positive reviews, but maybe that's because
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An in-depth introduction to the important process of grief work. Lots of good resources at the end. The book brings shows you the layout of the land, the course, the meaning, the ways, and places you at the starting line. The rest lies on you to begin to grieve so you can heal deep wounds and losses and live alive again.
Benjamin Lawrence  Walker
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I did not no what to expect heading into this book, and I was not disappointed. As a Christian, I had to read this book with discretion but it truly is one of the best books of grief I have ever read. It has a depth to it that only comes from an author who knows what it means to grieve.

However, the last chapter left me saddened. Weller has a deep connection to the Earth and that is seen throughout his work. In the last chapter he argues that the ending of the world will be destruction of the Hum
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After losing my joy bird, my dog Milagro, I’ve been interested in to hold it and use it to open my heart and make me more alive. This book offers so many resources and thoughts to ponder.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Lyrical and with useful content but also super repetitive.
Mark Groeneveld
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Extremely wordy and full of excessive metaphors. The same content would have been much better fitted to a shorter format with less fluff.
Barbara Musser
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has helped me immensely in navigating the terrain of grief. Francis Weller is a wise and kind man.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My soul needed this book. Poetic and insightful. Highly recommended for all humans.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
i am sure i would have enjoyed this much more if i had actually read it, or if the narrator was not such a Casey Kasem soundalike. The narration was for me completely inappropriate for the text, and it grated me to the point where i could often not even register what was being said.

I picked this book up because i was deeply affected by a recording of a series of lectures by the author about shame. Expecting more if the same, or maybe a more organized presentation of the same material, I feel the
Richard A. Cone
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enlightening perspectives and rituals about all types of grief.

Enlightening perspectives and rituals about grief, not just for loss of over ones, but also for loss of our environment, for subordination of women and minorities, and for macabre actions of warfare. And for all the other suppressed and unexpressed sorrows in our lives. Shows how grieving, painful and disturbing as it is, cleanses and unburdens our life spirits, enabling us to be more fully alive
M.j. Radosevich
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is book to ponder page by page. If you are grieving and mourning deep loss especially of personal circle then you will resonate with his insights and find comfort in his perspective. The mourning is both individual and collective for us to continue to choose life.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took a long time to savor this book and finish it. There is much wisdom and experience here and I highly recommend it to everyone. Even if the big losses have not yet happened, the grief of disappointment and rejection and disconnection need to be healed.
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. If you are dealing with grief for any reason, it is very helpful and informative. The suggestions for rituals were spot on as well.
Sharon Hope
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Insightful, compassionate, and supportive sourcebook for those who are grieving or who want to understand more about this universal state of being
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exploration of the role of grief in deepening our experience of personhood. The grief for the demise of the planet was especially provocative.
Nov 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book. Lots of people love this book. I thought I would join them in their love of this book.

The basic premise and basic assertion that grief is important and necessary to human and planetary health and well-being is one that I agree with wholeheartedly and I was hoping I might find more tools to engage with the healing and transformational experience of grief both individually and collectively.

There was some of that. But, it was so weighed down by flowery prose, poetry th
Esther Harrison
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I received a hard copy of this book for a Christmas gift, from someone close to me who understands what I’m going through. Since leaving the family religion, I’m being shunned by all it's believers. This includes my two adult children and their spouses. Besides that, now I have grandchildren I’ve never met. How can I heal my grief over the loss of my entire community, ripped out from under me upon leaving? But I had to leave in order to keep — no — to find my sanity. I know I can never go back. ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another book that is going into the very small (but growing) pile of... I don't know what to call it, but "foundations I'm (re)buliding my life on" is a good enough phrase for now - the books that I keep close at hand so I can reach for them easily.

Along with the author, I wonder how much of what we call depression is actually unprocessed, unfelt grief.

Summary: Grief is everywhere, it is unavoidable, it is part of our human experience. There are so many different types of grief that we
Kimberly Hetherington
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Grief is the dark colour that adds depth to the canvas, providing contract and texture. Without these tones, our lives would be flat and uninteresting." This is the opposite to how we treat grief in our society. We are a "fix-it and move on immediately" type of society, building malls and shopping centres to distract us against our deepest human nature. "Entire industries have been built to distract and dull our senses. Our need to anaesthetised is rooted in our smouldering dissatisfaction with ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book had some truly unique and useful things to say about the ways and times that we experience grief. Particularly the gateways of grief were powerful for me. Much of what he says about grief slowing you down and putting you into a specific state of mind rings true for me. I think that as pagans we do address grief at least to some degree, I often say it's not a good Samhain if nobody cries. I think we can go deeper though and I hope we will. I believe that in order for us to tac ...more
Jun 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What Our Culture Needs

I read this book as a digital library loan but I need to own it, because you can’t read this once and process everything you need to from it. I will certainly be buying it at some point. This book is a must read. Some of it may not register with people steeped in a Western mindset (I’m guilty of some of that myself) but just learning to grieve our losses and not let them pile up in our souls is so very important. It’s worth it to open up your heart and see if some part of
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was ok
A very difficult and tedious read for me. I might feel differently at another time of my life and I can see where this book may be useful for those wanting to better understand grief.
"There are few things as genuine as a person grieving"
Grief comes from Latin word meaning heavy. Trauma comes from a German word meaning soul-shaking.
"Grief has never been private; it has always been communal."
"Those who take the full journey into their grief come back carrying medicine for the world."
"Slowly, over
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most powerful book I've ever read about grief. Grief can be such an isolating, disorienting experience. This book gave honest, real words to that experience, and treats grief with such honor and even reverence. It felt like a gift. We'll all experience loss beyond words in this lifetime, and this book is one of the few that seems to meet that moment. It speaks to all kinds of grief and loss. There's a lot about community and ritual that didn't connect with my experience or with what ...more
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“Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close.” 21 likes
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