The Keening Women Workshop

keening-doll-collageKeening Woman Workshop

Sunday 26th march 10.30-5.30 2017

Location East Asheville – Women’s Retreat Space

When my grandmother died we had a wake. I remember her friends and neighbors gathering – there was much talk and tender words as they approached her body and gently touched her face and hair. I remember the rattle of teacups and the sound of rosary beads. Today we can be overwhelmed by our grief for all that is happening in the world and I know I can feel completely helpless. It was the wise woman who people of the village went to in times of personal crisis – from ill health, bad luck or loosing something – she offered healing, prophecy and advice. Today our world is in crisis and many of us feel the crippling weight of grief for what is happening

Yet each of us has much to offer and by working through the stages of Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects together in circle in sacred space we will share our gratitudes for experiencing life and then move into honoring our grief through a keening ceremony. Then we will have a guided meditation and shamanic journey where we ask for personal guidance in our role in working towards the Great Turning. 


Wise Women In a Time of Crisis

The wise woman in various forms has always been called on in times of crisis. This can be personal crisis, community or global and throughout the world women lamenters can be found in almost every culture.

6-2-edit-jpgOtherworld Connection

An information pack (accessible via my website) will be available before the actual workshop allowing participants time to read through what resources catch their imagination. Keening is said to have been created by the Goddess Brighid as she lamented the death of her son. It is a woman’s ritual whose roots stretch back to a pagan past. The Keener was the one who sang the praise of the one who had died but was the guide for that soul to begin it’s journey to the otherworld. Often the Keening song imitated birds, such as the Oystercatcher, a bird sacred to Brighid. The Keeners role was in connecting to the other world, illuminating that pathway or the deceased and in her emotion glimpses of that otherworld could shine throughsecond-gm

Our pre-workshop reading will cover:

  • What is keening
  • The Women’s role in keening
  • The Church’s reaction to keening and the consequences
  • Modern uses of keening – moving outside of tradition
  • The American Wake
  • Modern examples of keening songs


screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-24-06-pmDandelion Spiral – illustrating the Work that Reconnects

Keening For Our Time

We will begin our day together by discussing what elements from the reading resonated with us the most. Then we will move onto our feelings of living in these times which I don’t have to tell you can be overwhelming. We will explore keening within the Spiral of Reconnection created by Joanna Macy so we can express feelings but ground them in a positive framework that helps us move past our grief and into making a commitment to bringing change in this world. We will begin by sharing our gratitudes for living on the earth in a shared gesture before moving into honoring our pain which we will do within a keening ritual. Next we will undertake a guided meditation and shamanic journey to ask the advice of our ancestors and future beings for our personal role we walk in the world. Then we will spend time exploring this idea through art, journalling and collage – or perhaps you’d rather sit in silence, walk the labyrinth or just be in silence on the land.


Labyrinth with Hawk Guardian in Attendance

Creating Keening Dolls

In the afternoon we will make a Keening woman doll – she can be adorned with items which represent our own unique path and the work we do in the world. The doll is designed so she can hang on a wall or outdoors and we will discuss how to work with these dolls as well as each participant receiving a booklet on how to work with dolls.

While all doll making materials are provided participants are required to bring special natural objects, pendants or ribbons and yarns.

Workshop Location

Our workshop location is a dedicated women only space in the Riceville Valley area of East Asheville. There is accommodation available for anyone who would like to stay over priced at $50 per night – just get in touch via the contact page of my website if your interested in booking accommodation.


Booking. All art materials are provided.

Early Booking cost is $79.

Please get in touch (via the contact page) if you’d rather pay by check.


Full price $92 (after 17th march)