Laurence Cole. (Submitted photo)
Laurence Cole. (Submitted photo)
The public is invited to attend any and all of the following events in Decorah Thursday, May 9, and Friday, May 10. Space is limited. Tickets are available at Oneota Community Co-op or at

For more information contact Liz Rog at 563-382-8013 or

Thursday, May 9 -- 2:30-4:30 p.m.

"Growing Indigenous Roots: a Conversation on Rites of Passage for Youth and Grief-Healing," at ArtHaus in Decorah. Tickets are by donation; suggested donation is $5-$15, as you are able.

Laurence Cole will lead a conversation about rites of passage for youth by describing the work men are doing with boys in his small town of Port Townsend, WA. We will hear from others who have created local rites. All are welcome, whether you have something to share or are simply eager to listen. During the second hour our discussion will turn to grief ritual, a powerful and accessible practice taking roots around the country.

Those who would like to experience grief ritual may return Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 9 -- 7-9 p.m.

"Singing Together to Nourish the Soul and Re-enchant the World with Song," at the Congregational United Church of Christ Center, 209 W Broadway, Decorah (behind the courthouse). Tickets are by donation; suggested donation is $5-$15, as you are able.

The event is sponsored by Northeast Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and United Church of Christ.

Cole is known for drawing folks into the ancient birthright of humanity to connect with each other and the living world through passionate singing together. He teaches his own easily learned layer songs, often using the words of ancient and modern ecstatic poets, including Rumi and Hafiz, as well as songs from worldwide wisdom traditions.

"Group singing is one of the most ancient and primal "technologies of belonging" that we humans have been using since our earliest times, possibly before speech itself," Cole said. "When we make joyous and passionate song together, it nourishes our souls and offers an enlivening gift back to the natural world that made us and gives us our sustenance and our very being."

Friday, May 10 -- 1:30-4 p.m.

"Grief-Healing Ritual," at ArtHaus. Tickets are by donation; suggested donation is $10-$20, as you are able.

Cole will guide participants in honoring and working with losses. Beginning with introductions, a grounding meditation, check-ins a vocal/body warm-up, Cole will offer some preliminary guidance in how to hold sacred witness for each other in welcoming whatever mode of expression is ready to be released.

Participants will then break into small groups of three or four, with each one who chooses to share something of their personal experiences and feelings of loss. This process will be contained by Cole in a soft vocal atmosphere through the chanting of a traditional African lament, accompanied by gentle drumming.

At the close, silence will be held for a time, followed by some debriefing and the sharing of food.

According to Cole, grief-healing ceremonies offer an opportunity to be with personal and collective grief, held in a ritual container with sacred intention amongst a supportive group of women and men.

"Grieving is one of the ways we express love for what we've lost, and in the process helps ground us in what most deeply matters to us," he said. "Whether it be from the loss of dear ones, cherished dreams, places, communities, lost health, abilities and skills, dropping into the deep feelings of grief can be immensely restorative, particularly when witnessed, held and allowed to run its full course by an empathic and respectful community who are nourished by their mutually shared support of each other ... As someone once said, 'You never forget the people with whom you've cried.'"