Hello - my name is Hannah Velten. I’m championing an inner way of dealing with grief which can fully heal, and ultimately lead to personal growth and transformation... whatever the physical circumstances.
Our ‘RAISE’ approach to healing grief works on three levels:
empowering the griever,
re-establishing the connection with their loved one,
healing in both realms.
I say ‘our’ approach, because I’ve been gifted this healing pathway following my own 'Grief Walk' - spanning 17 years - beginning when my brother, Christian Velten, went missing in Mali, Africa in 2003. People used to ask me, how on earth do you cope? Well, in all honestly, I didn't.
I froze in traumatic and anticipatory grief. Today, I know the term of 'ambiguous loss' which has been described as the "most stressful kind of loss" (Dr Pauline Boss). I didn't know what to do - I played no part in the (inconclusive) searches for him and kept myself isolated (emotionally and physically) from family and friends. Was Christian still alive and in trouble, choosing not to return, or was he dead? It felt the cruelest of losses - being helpless, in a nightmarish limbo.
I had been severed from my soulmate brother (I was only 14 months older than him). I became an only child. Not only did I feel abandoned, but I (subconsciously) felt furious with Christian for going on the fool-hardy African expedition everyone had warned him against. Although I said I loved him and wanted him to return, I had a (again, subconscious) belief that he'd never return and even if he did, he'd be so different (damaged) from the man he'd been that he wouldn't be my proper brother. I was left unable to speak about Christian - new friends didn't even know I had a brother... he became a taboo subject.
After about 18 months of him being missing, I had to think of Christian as dead to be able to find some closure, of sorts. I fled from my grief, trying to dampen it down with alcohol & work, but the pain was like a toxic soup seeping into my dreams, my relationships, my outlook on life and eroding my trust and faith in the Universe. Then there were the milestones he missed and the bitter sweet celebrations: the births of my children ('Uncle' Christian's nephew and niece), my marriage, anniversaries and birthdays. Heartbreaking moments of overwhelming grief.
But then 2015 dawned: Christian's 40th birthday loomed large. What should we do? Twelve years had passed; there had been no news, no ransom note, no belongings found, nothing. He'd disappeared off the face of the Earth around Bamako, the capital of Mali, and he had been declared legally 'dead' to be able to deal with his finances. I was finally being called to face my grief... so I persuaded our parents to have a large garden party for Christian, inviting family and all of Christian's friends. This decision marked the beginning of our shared healing.
At the party, I inadvertently initiated a connection with Christian which gradually saw me experiencing more and more incredible magic and miracles until, after a long and revelatory journey, Christian was finally able to confirm his death to me in 2018... by then I was ready to hear the truth. In the year that followed, we fully healed and re-birthed our sibling bond, mainly via guided writing and trance mediumship and, despite never retrieving his physical body, I was able to discover the truth surrounding Christian's disappearance and his death. Unconditional love, understanding and forgiveness were key to our unity, joy and transformation. I was also able to retrieve his trapped spirit energy from Africa and deliver him 'home'. I did find Christian, and he's still my brother... and during the grief walk we also found our purpose: healing and transforming grief in the world.
We’ve both learnt so many lessons about the nature of death, grief and living peacefully and wholly after loss. We now help others, not only to honour the trauma we’ve been through, but because we want to throw out the rulebook on grief to inspire, empower and support others to find their way through, and out of, seemingly 'impossible-to-heal' situations. Everywhere we look, our Western world denies, hides and fears death and grievers are left with condolences, memories and pity, rather than being given faith in their own abilities to heal and the truth of their loved ones continued existence. During these times of COVID19 pandemic, we also feel a huge responsibility to offer a haven of peace and support in a fearful world AND doing this work allows Christian and I to work together!
Christian is now a storyteller, whereas I am a medium, energy worker, intuitive tarot reader and healer. We see the potential in everyone (in both realms) to be whole and transformed, and we are extremely humbled to be part of your healing journey.
Our aim is to show:
an inner way of dealing with grief that totally heals and allows for abundant personal growth afterwards,
loss is an illusion; your bond can be maintained with your loved one after physical death,
an alternative way of thinking about death, grief and what it means to live your life, fully,
there’s a whole support network open to you, as long as you ask for help,
all of us have the ability to heal grief wounds, however deep, messy or old they are,
the death of another is the perfect catalyst for a break up and rebuild of one’s own life. Their death contains a gift, which has to be opened to be truly received.
Our work centres on:
our current paperback ‘Lost & Found: The 8-Pointed Pathway to Healing and Growth After Loss’ - which is co-written with Christian, and only available through our website (it won "Best Spirit Guides & Afterlife Book" in Soul & Spirit magazine's 'Spiritual Book Awards 2020') ,
a proposed book telling our full roller-coaster of a grief walk story. Storytelling being the key to passing on the key messages of faith, love and truth,
a film proposal which tells our story, incorporating indigenous/Eastern grief/funeral rites and traditions, including river burials (which Christian actually had) and ’journey sweats’ (where families grieve and guide their loved one into the light after a 'bad death' - which is essentially what I inadvertently did),
an online grief-healing community, called ‘RAISE’*, where grievers can come to learn the fundamentals of our approach - there are many resources on offer, such as messages from Spirit, the 'Emergency Grief Kit' and 'Grief Walk' courses and many articles. We expect RAISE to become the main focus of our efforts to heal and transform grief in the world,
workshops/podcasts/talks where grievers/supporters/counsellors can be introduced to our experiences and the basic ideas, tools and techniques behind our ‘RAISE’ approach (especially dealing with ambiguous or complicated loss),
offering in-person and distance support and healing - long term (up to 1yr) - and also 3/4-day retreats (Hannah's private work),
AND FINALLY.... tracing Christian’s camera cards which remain in Kita, Mali. These cards were stolen from him and are the only existing proof of our continued communication and they will be coming into my possession when the time’s right (I don’t know who brings them to me, or how, or when, but I will receive them). This information was passed on to me during the Facebook live films we made, retracing Christian’s last few weeks of life. The film collection is available as a free resource for anyone interested in witnessing Spirit in action and learning about life after death.
Thank you for reading our statement of intent. When I first started this journey my intention was to find Christian, and I did, although not as we'd hoped for, or expected. I've since learnt that setting intentions, and keeping focused on them, brings them into fruition as long as you are open to receiving and releasing control.
Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any comments, questions or ideas for us.
Last updated 6 August 2020
* 'RAISE' was Christian's computer password... and his favourite graffiti to leave places!
Better to live raised up, than live low. Fly free from the grief cage.