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Sunday 27th October 1-5.30, Candler (15 mins from downtown Asheville)

Keening With Our Ancestors

Learn About the Tradition of the Bean Chaointe (Keening Women)

Create a Sacred Smoke Bundle from Local Plants and Herbs

Honor Your Ancestral Stories with our Ancestor Altar

Participate in a Keening Ritual and Experience its Healing Power

Guided Meditation to Attune to Hidden Ancestral Wisdom

Sacred Mourning - A Ritual of Honoring Our Grief

Let us gather in circle, sisters. Let us gather surrounded by our ancestors to honor the season and our deep grief for all that is unfolding in the world. This Samhain we will bring photos or objects which tell the story of our ancestors. Perhaps you are called to share about a Blood Ancestor, a relative you knew and shared life with, or perhaps you are drawn to your Bone Ancestors - those ancestral foremothers whose names we don’t know but whose calling we hear through our blood and bones and visions in our dreams.

An Ancient Celtic Tradition

In our gathering you’ll hear the story of the Bean Chaointe, the keening woman and the role she played. Keening provides a ritual to express and transform our grief so we can commit once again to life and the work we do in the world. We have so much to grieve for. Grief can shut us down, immobilize us in apathy and turn our head away from what really needs our intention. Keening offers us the invitation to grieve - to sink into our deep sorrow for all that is unfolding in the world. Keening can be cathartic, it can offer a release, that outpouring of dammed up emotions. This way in circle and ceremony we can honor our grief without letting it become overwhelming so we can continue to work in the world.

We will honor our grief with three keening circles as you re-familiarize yourself in voicing grief in a radical ritual no longer honored in our death phobic culture. We’ll hold three circles of Keening will allow us to express our anger and frustration, a second invites us to express our grief while the third welcomes our recommitment, to the path we walk in life. Gestures of ritual will support your emotional journey.

“I attended the Keening Woman workshop last year and it changed my life. I was grieving for the loss of a special soul as well as a dramatic change in my way of life. This workshop helped me through this liminal phase. I drove 7 hours to attend. The shared stories of the other women and the time for personal reflection were balanced by Jude’s guidance. ”

— Sally Ireland 2017

Learn How to Use Plants & Poetry As Allies

You will create your own sacred smoke bundle using plants grown on the land we sit on. You’ll learn how to use the plants growing near you in cultivating daily rituals that honor our ancestors, life’s transitions, and residual unprocessed grief. We will read some poems together and take an inner journey through guided meditation to connect with hidden ancestral wisdom, then take out our pens to explore the images we found in our inner landscape. Through writing and guided journeys, you may find lost voices of your ancestors still speaking through the veil of time.

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Your Facilitators

With her background in Human Ecology/Ecopsychology and her Bean Feasa (Wise Woman) lineage Jude Lally uses her tools of art and storytelling as empowering tools of creative resistance. As a Cultural Activist she draws upon the rich tapestry of her heritage offering ancestral practices such as Keening which help women grieve for their dead but also in a modern setting help to honor the grief we feel for all that is happening in the world and transform it into action.


Mary Ellen Lough

Mary Ellen Lough is a writer and poetry therapist living outside of Asheville, NC. She has trained with the Institute for Poetic Medicine and works for the Asheville Area Arts Council teaching poetry and creative writing to veterans with PTSD. She hosts the farmhouse poetry series at her beloved old house, offering eclectic circles in poetry, dreamwork, depth psychology, and earth practices.

Where and When

Our circle will take place in Mary Ellen’s cabin in Candler - 15 mins from downtown Asheville, 1-5.30. Full details of what to bring and directions will be emailed after booking.


The cost for this afternoon event is $55 (with a $25 non refundable deposit). Payment is made via PayPal.