About High Heel Funerals & Ceremonies

High Heel Funerals & Ceremonies is the only agency in Sweden that offers grief work, ceremonies and celebrancy exclusively to the lgbtqia+ communities. All the work we do is based on the fact that queer and trans people are magical, loved and important people in our communities and in the world. 

We know that many people in the lgbtqia+ communities have had to find their own chosen family and social circles. Many of us have experience from being disowned, excluded or mistreated by our biological family, congregations and/or our local communities. It is common for many of us to have been forced to leave a faith path that wasn’t welcoming to our queer excellence. Most of our clients long for a spiritual practice that is free from religious dogma. We believe in the power of ritual and ceremony to manage life and death, and that the lives of people in the lgbtqia+ communities should be celebrated.

High Heel Funerals & Ceremonies strives for a decolonizing approach to spirituality and actively works against cultural appropriation, white supremacy and other forms of racism as well as ableism.

Who is behind High Heel Funerals & Ceremonies?

Hi, I’m Rev. Zafira Vrba Woodski, the founder of High Heel Funerals & Ceremonies. I’m an Interfaith Minister, death doula and artist living in Stockholm, Sweden. 

 Death has always been around in my life. Growing up as a genderqueer person in the 80s and 90s in a smaller city in Sweden unfortunately meant growing up without much of a queer community. Transphobic legislations, AIDS and violent prejudice were all reasons behind the lack of elders and role models. Later on, the high mortality in the trans community has made me bury several of my friends. Being queer and trans has trained me in grief work, it is as simple as that. 

Since the beginning of the 2000s I have combined working with art and care. As a professional artist I work in the fields of performance, film and text based practices. You can read more about my art here. As a care worker I have worked within home care, personal assistance, teaching in special schools and as a producer of learning materials. 

In 2016, after the death of two trans friends, I decided to dedicate my work, both as an artist and a celebrant, to support my communities with grief support, ceremonies and suicide prevention. This was my calling to ministry and to train as a death doula. 

Alongside my work with High Heel Funerals & Ceremonies and my art, I’m an advocate for trans rights and accessible/non-ableist sex education as well as a published writer. 

Zafira’s qualifications:

Interfaith Minister, trained by One Spirit Interfaith Foundation, UK

Funeral Celebrant, trained by Ceremonimästarna, Sweden

Certified Death Doula, trained by Dödsdoulan i Skandinavien, Sweden

Introduction to a Person-Centered Approach to Death and Dying, trained by Living Well Dying Well Training, UK

Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, trained by Svenska institutet för sorgbearbetning

Lecturer and process manager at numerous institutions, such as Gothenburg University, Stockholm University, Moderna Museet, the Royal Dramatic Theatre and the Museum of World Culture. 

Zafira’s own personal spiritual journey includes 12 Step recovery, trauma work such as Life Span Integration and Basic Body Awareness Therapy, extensive grief work and intergenerational trauma healing. 

format_quoteZafira skapade en fin och värdig ceremoni till minne av min dotter. Vi hade ett bra samarbete under planeringen och utformningen av ceremonin och det blev en viktig del av mitt sorgearbete. Jag tror att alla närvarande kände detsamma.format_quote
Frida
format_quoteAny context would be better if Zafira was involved. With Zafira, there is magic in every room.format_quote
Andie Pirata
format_quoteZafira has a fantastic ability to create a safe and dignified atmosphere in the room. Through their friendly and clear presence, Zafira provides space for strong emotions and the opportunity for community.format_quote
Sam
format_quoteThinking back to the farewell ceremony which Zafira led prior to my top surgery, I'm still struck by how skillfully Zafira created a beautiful environment in which I felt respected, seen, and safe.format_quote
Adam
format_quoteZafira har en fantastisk förmåga att skapa en trygg och värdig stämning i rummet. Genom sin vänliga och tydliga närvaro ger Zafira utrymme för starka känslor och möjlighet till gemenskap.format_quote
Sam
format_quoteZafira created a nice and dignified ceremony in memory of my daughter. We had a good collaboration during the planning and design of the ceremony and it became an important part of my grief work. I think everyone who was there felt the same.format_quote
Frida
format_quoteVilket sammanhang som helst skulle bli bättre om Zafira var inblandad. Med Zafira finns magi i varenda rum.format_quote
Andie Pirata
format_quoteGenuinely one of the best facilitated sessions on any subject I’ve been to anywhere.format_quote
Jim, workshop participant
format_quoteNär jag tänker tillbaka på avskedsceremonin som Zafira ledde innan min mastektomi slås jag fortfarande av hur skickligt Zafira skapade en vacker miljö där jag kände mig respekterad, sedd och säker.format_quote
Adam

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