End of Life Doula Preparation Course
Like birth, we want to bring death back where it belongs; in the hands and hearts of loved ones, in the home and community, in sacred space. We want to bring back touch, care, love, connection and to uphold the importance of death as a holy threshold and transition. We seek to reclaim all aspects of caring for the dying, the dead and the bereaved from clinical conditions back into our hearts and everyday lives. We want to change the narrative around death, no more euphemisms, no more dirty words, no more taboos. We honour grief; both our own, each others and that of our ancestors and the world.
The Red Tent format is one of circles and sharing of stories. As we gather, the threads of our ancestry; our biological and spiritual lineages start to weave together to form a great repository of knowledge and experience which we can both immerse ourselves in and also draw from. These are ancient ways for modern times. The End of Life Doula Training brings together all those who feel drawn to attend to people at times of death and dying to learn, to share, to grow and to serve.
We might begin by exploring how to be of support to someone who is dying; how to cultivate presence and how to go both into and yet beyond the self to be able to connect in Love; to meet that person where they are, to uphold their sovereignty and champion their needs and wishes. The individual who is dying is also the tip of an iceberg when it comes to the need within our communities and wider society at this time. We will also explore how to both serve and influence the field, the environment, the family, the wider community; circles within circles; such that death returns to its rightful place in our world as a sacred threshold and a community event rather than a medical failure.
As we travel to different geographical locations to be hosted in people’s homes we anticipate that many who come for the training will form a circle of mutual peers and kindred spirits so as we depart we leave behind a consolidated community presence of death-literate and passionate people who will find their own unique and creative ways to deepen into service of the Soul on matters of death, dying and bereavement.
Alexandra lives and works in Snowdonia, North Wales as a birthkeeper, end of life doula, healer, spiritual counsellor and independent minister and ceremonialist. Her introduction to working in service of the Soul began young; her father died when she was 14 and intuitively Alexandra knew how to midwife his soul; this early encounter with death and the reassurance of what she experienced beyond the veil sparked her spiritual quest through Buddhism, past life regression, Reiki, imagework, training as a yoga and meditation teacher, yoga scripture, Sufism, shamanic practice and working with ancestral voices and soul clearance before training as an interfaith minister and spiritual counsellor.
In recent years Alexandra was surprised and delighted to be asked to attend friends’ births and so she trained with Nicola Goodall of Red Tent Doula Preparation. Amazed from the outset at how the issues so often encountered in her journeys with people to and through death are paralleled in our birth experiences and also sensing a Homecoming and sacred recognition of that ancient midwife archetype Alexandra felt she had found a community to which she completely and utterly belonged. As the death and birthwork has interwoven a key area of focus for Alexandra has been on grief and working with grief as a pathway to healing and joy.
Awen is a mother of four, a doula, a storykeeper, a priestess of the divine feminine and an independent celebrant. She has been working with women for many years, holding space, supporting healing and journeying with women as they head towards birth and beyond. She has always held a vision of being a wise woman of times past, supporting her community at the beginning of life and also at its end. She believes that life is to be celebrated.
Her work is a path of song and storykeeping, using voice and drum and time and space to hold and carry people in their stories. Stories of birth, love, life and death. She works deeply with the energy of the land and the trees and with the Goddess, Mother of us all.
Coming together with Alexandra to offer the Red Tent End of Life programme draws together many threads of work and training for Awen. She brings to the partnership and the training programme strengths in ceremony and holding space and a strong need and desire to bring people into remembering what they already know, to bring them back into connection with cultures and traditions that they know in their soul and spirit.
We are looking for people who can demonstrate an established self care routine, some form of spiritual practice and a deep commitment to being in service of the dying and bereaved. This will need to be set out for us in a letter of application (or a spoken interview if writing is not your preferred means of communication).
We require you to be able to pay the deposit and to establish a plan of how and when you will pay the remainder of the fee.
You are asked to demonstrate throughout the 12 months that you have a minimum of 1 supervision/mentoring session per month (more is encouraged) and that you attend most deeply to your self care.
The time requirement is the initial long weekend of training and 12 months of self directed study during which time you are asked to attend a minimum of 2 of our development day modules.
You will be asked to be in at least monthly supervision or mentorship (one session per month as a minimum).
During the 12 months of study you will have access to a weekly Zoom online meeting of peer support and online forums for sharing and support; active engagement with these opportunities is encouraged but not compulsory.
You will undergo a self-directed project of your own design.
Upon completion of 12 months of training, reading, supervision/mentoring and peer support and submission of the project you will receive our certificate and blessing.
The long weekend initial training will cover the following core topics:
- Attending to our own stories of death and grief (self knowledge, self care)
- Sitting with people who are dying (deep listening, cultivating presence)
- Understanding the medical model, the system as it is
- Legalities surrounding death, care of the dead and funerals
- The stages of “end of life” – before, during and after death
- Listening the needs of the person who is dying, advocating for their wishes to be fulfilled
- The importance of creating sacred space, the environment
- The importance of looking at the family and/or community constellation within which this death is happening – working with families and friends to help create that environment of peace
- The transit of the Soul – what is happening to the soul at death (not to be taught but explored)
- Griefwork; for the dying, the carers and for the bereaved
- Voicework; singing to the dying, use of voice in releasing grief and trauma
- The Old Rituals – keening, lamenting, cynhebrwng in wales, wakes in ireland and scotland (we will ask you to research your local traditions prior to the weekend)
- Working with the ancestors (you are not spiritually alone)
The 4 development days run annually (of which you are to attend at least 2 to complete the course) are:
- Griefwork and Ritual (Radical re-imagining of what we think we know about Grief, includes a Grief Ceremony and introduction to keening)
- Laying out the Dead at home (a practical workshop)
- Developing your Spirituality around death and dying
- Use of Sound and Song with death and dying (exploring the Threshold Choir and other voice modalities)
The cost of the course is £475 and covers:
- Initial weekend training (3 days intensive)
- Reduced price access to Development Days
- Access to weekly Zoom meetings
- Access to facebook forum and email updates
- Receiving and appreciation of your final project and issue of certificate
(If you are already a Birth Doula with the Red Tent Doula Preparation under the guidance of Nicola and Hannah then you receive a £50 discount so the course fee is £425)
Additional costs for you to consider:
- You will need to attend at least 2 of the Development days at £40 per day (cost to others = £60)
- You will need to contract with a mentor or supervisor for at least one session per month***
- You will need to meet your own travel, food and accomodation costs for training weekends
*** NB: you are not obliged to use one of our recommended mentors so long as you have someone you are in a supervision/mentoring relationship with at least once a month specifically relating to this training. We offer you a list of 6 people, Alexandra and Awen included plus 4 mentors we have trained, who you can approach and ask for mentoring and supervision. Each of our mentors are free to set their fees as they wish and some may consider alternative forms of payment or exchange if finances are an issue for you. This is something you will need to broker and negotiate yourselves.
How to Register
If you would like to express an interest in attending this training then please email Alexandra and Awen at email@example.com and if you are able to express yourself in writing then please tell us why you are called and how you meet our requirements. If you would prefer to express yourself verbally then please ask us for a Skype meeting and we will gladly oblige. This is to help us to know and understand you rather than to assess you.
Please tell us which training you are interested in and we will ask you to pay your deposit of £175 and explain to us how you will pay the remainder. Payment in full is welcome. Spreading payment up to 12 months is welcome. And anything in between.
We will send you a training agreement and hold you to your commitment to attend, participate and pay by way of a virtual gentlewoman or gentleman’s handshake. We trust you, the agreement in writing is for clarity and is good practice by way of establishing mutual commitment and boundaries at the outset.
Once you register and pay your deposit you will be sent the full welcome pack with reading list, course requirements and assignments and you will be added to our mailing list, facebook forum and Zoom meetings.
20-21-22 July 2018 – Bangor, North Wales.
19-20-21 Oct 2018 – Frome, Somerset.
9-10-11 Nov 2018 – Lancaster
30 Nov/1-2 Dec 2018 – Newcastle.
Dublin and Athens preparation in 2019.
16th June 2018 – Griefwork and Ritual – Newcastle
17th June 2018 – Song, Sound and Silence around Death and Dying – Newcastle
8th Sept 2018 – Kissing the Sacred Darkness – Feed, Bristol
9th Sept 2018 – Grief Work and Ritual – Bristol
22-25th Sept 2018 – Griefkeepers Gathering Retreat – North Wales
To view the Red Tent End of Life blog and further information for trainees please visit: www.redtentendoflife.wordpress.com