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ABOUT THIS PROJECT

This zine is a creative project intended to connect with community and provide a touchstone to communities regarding death, dying, and grief.

This began as a senior project for my BA in Interdiciplinary Studies at California Institute for Integral Studies rooted in exploring how C
apitalism has perpetuated Western societies' overall disconnect from death, dying, and grief as a sacred rite of passage. In 2021, I was able to put together vol 1 of Together in Grief, and I am over the MOON to expand within my community to continue co-creating continued volumes.

This quote by Francis Weller, a therapist interviewed by Tim McKee in The Sun Interview under The Geography of Sorrow, captures the expression of grief in Western society beautifully:


"Expressing grief has always been a challenge. The main difference between our society and societies in the past is how private we are with it today. Throughout most of human history, grief has been communal. … And the psyche knows we are not capable of handling grief in isolation. So it holds back from going into that territory until the conditions are right - which they rarely are. The message is, 'Get over it. Get back to work.' Again and again, in my practice clients come to me with a depression that is more of oppression: a result of so many years of sorrow that have not been touched with kindness or compassion or community. You're left with an untenable situation: to try to walk alone with this sack of grief on your back without knowing where to take it." (McKee, 2015).   

One of the aspects of grief in this modern day that I find the most damaging is the isolation that occurs. So often, we are left to grieve alone... to quiet our grief... to numb our grief so that we can continue to operate in our busy world. This isolation and numbing lives quietly in our bodies slipped into the unconscious, leaving us often empty and alone. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the constant violent atrocities humans face right now, I believe there is more need than ever to heal our relationship to death and the grieving process.

So: let's get back to community.

This project is an opportunity for me to open up a dialogue with my community about grief. I get to ask those around me what their relationship to grief looks, feels, and tastes like... it is an open call to anyone who feels inspired to share their expression of grief. By collecting art, words, insights, wisdom, magic, and creations from my community and collaging them together to share with more community, I hope to be able to collage together a collection of voices in their process of grief. Together in grief.


My intention is to normalize death... to integrate it back into our community as something we can embrace, talk about, and even celebrate. The collective fear of death often leaves us stuck in our grief and despair. It lives in our bodies and keeps a sense of powerlessness alive. I believe it perpetuates a collective paradigm of fear that is harmful and prevents humanity from connecting to the natural rhythm we are all a part of. So - let's do it differently. Let's find an outlet for expressions of grief, together, and embody it through art and connection. May it move through our bodies and into the world so that we can become freer to be present and accepting of the cycle of life and death. 

Overall my hope is for this zine to be a touchstone for those experiencing grief in the often isolating, oppressive, and systemically flawed Western society. There are so many aspects of Western society that perpetuate the foundational despair that tends to accompany loss. For those of us that are grieving for our earth, a life before COVID-19, and the loss of beloveds - we tend to land amongst the disconnect from community that we so desperately need. By creating a resource and connecting piece of art, I hope that this quietly and subtly ties in our hearts together within our grief. It is easy to become lost in the isolation… perhaps this can be a tool to make it a little more bearable. I hope that this zine can be the territory of the right conditions that Francis Weller speaks to in his interview… a place to set grief down, together, and heal our collective relationship to death, dying, and grief.

With love & magic,
Kristina




For more information, feel free to read the paper I wrote to summarize the original senior project:




 

References

McKee, T. (2015, October). The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Losses. The Sun Interview, https://thesunmagazine.org/issues/478/the-geography-of-sorrow
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