Rituals To Heal The Grieving

grief & loss products rituals Oct 22, 2020

“Suppressed grief suffocates, it rages within the breast and is forced to multiply its strength.” - Ovid

Grief and loss are unique kinds of suffering and require particular tenderness and understanding to help us get through. Unprocessed grief is even worse, residing in our psyche and haunting us. The death of an infant before birth, whether through miscarriage, still-birth, failed IVF or missed opportunities is another kind of grief, which is frequently silent and rarely handled with the kind of scared ceremony it deserves types of pain that make the suffering even worse.

There is often awkwardness around grief in general – people don’t know what to say or inadvertently say the wrong thing – but this is frequently even worse when it’s a baby whom no-one has ever met or had a chance to get to know. Even worse, there is often a taboo in our society about the burial of the remains of a baby who has died before birth and parents and individuals go home empty-handed, grieving and with no place to put this pain, no way of tending to it.

The Japanese for many centuries have understood the importance of acknowledging this specific type of loss. There is a loving bodhisattva or saint in their tradition, who serves as the protector of these babies. The legend has it that Jizo descends into the Underworld to rescue and protect these little mites, by hiding them tenderly in his robe. Throughout Japan, there are memorial grounds which are specifically created to help the grieving to mourn their lost babies. The Japanese believe we are born from the womb of the earth and we return to it after we die, we are part of nature and we return to nature, so consequently there is no final death, as our bodies and spirits enter back into the eternal circle of death, decay and renewal.

I lived in Japan for several years, where I observed these practices with admiration at how they integrate death into life and acknowledge it without judgement or prejudice. After doing a Master’s in Mythology, where I studied ritual, it occurred to me to try to introduce Jizo and the practices to mourn the unborn to the West. I have been working with clients who are grieving such loss, some of which happened decades ago. I conduct rituals and show people how to create their own living memorials in their gardens or on their balconies.

Since Covid 19, I have created beautiful, handmade kits with a friendly guide to conducting your own ritual at home. Jizo’s love and compassion knows no bounds. He also protects animals, the crops, travelers, mother’s and others. Affectionately known as the “universal pain reliever”, Jizo’s tender compassion is available for all. Each kit contains a handmade Jizo, a planter and seeds, wish paper and pencil, a scented candle, an eternal ribbon. This living memorial can be visited and tended to at anytime. The seeds, when they have grown can be used in cooking. Most importantly of all, the memory of the lost loved one can be kept alive, visited and tended to at any time. You can add photos, memorabilia, stones, shells, any things that are meaningful to you and the memory of those you are grieving. I am also available online to offer guidance as you plan your ritual.


Purchase a Ritual Kit here.