Harvest of Collective Alchemy circles—21 January 2022

universe as torus


This is the first Portal Day in 2022.
Now is the newness for us all.
We’re moving in the energy of the fire cycle as a collective.
Today we are building the fire,
after tending the embers in our hang-out
and fanning the flames with our co-sensing.
As a collective, our last Portal Day was on December 18,
but collective alchemy is in the world all the time these days.
All around the world, we honour the season we find ourselves in.

An appetizer from Lyn, unable to join us today:
I so appreciated the event write up…
Some of its sparkle below, if I may, to absorb and amplify it this day
An immense whirlpool….a portal …
all matter to its singularity and out the other side
transformed, ready for another cycle around,
an up-graded essence.
The torus, a fractal form, present at all levels of scale.
Questions at the centre pulling us
into the alchemical fire of our transformation…
through to the other side.
Ever-shifting inner chemistry fluctuating,
that hyper-intense transformation point in the centre…
Activated strongly enough,
fired wholly enough,
whereby we find our feet moment-by-moment
in any and every context… to transformation.
Holding the crucible together.”



An echo from an aikido sensei:
“It’s OK to lose your ground,
it’s not OK to lose your centre.”
Aikido emphasises the centre-point, the hara.
The energy of centring.
Whatever is in motion is the movement that occurs.
We are invited to recentre.
Within that centring quality is abiding in silence
—deepening the quality of silence I can embody—
and a dance
between that movement and the stillness (from the point of coherence).
From that awareness the alchemising can move through
as ripples or tsunamis
and yet that quality can endure,
becoming more forged and embedded as a result.

There’s something like a ring of phosphorus
between the outside and my inside.
I look out outside at what’s happening in the world …
the feeding frenzy of so many narratives
attacking and polarising,
sucking people in.
On the inside, there’s a temptation
to get sucked out into one or other of them
and yet there’s this burning ground on the interface
between outside in the inside
that offers a choice at a 90° angle—a shift into a different dimension
which says “none of the above”.
It just burns it all away and leaves me in this silence;
the stillness of that centredness.
Living this is the alchemy at the moment.
It’s something I occasionally inflict on myself
very consciously and intentionally;
the rest of the time it happens automatically.
It’s the deliberate demolition of my worldviews
and what happens when I regularly nuke the ground I’m standing on.
My best example is going down the rabbit hole of all the evidence on the Internet
that demonstrates that the earth is actually flat, not round!
I notice my my attachment to the idea that the earth is a globe
and that the planets are really there and really look how NASA shows us they look…
like in all those computer-generated images…
It’s an exercise in reminding myself that I don’t know any facts
beyond my actual lived experience—and neither do any of us.
All the assumptions that we make and operate on are just that:
they are assumptions!
We’re all operating on assumptions that are telling us
that “they know what they’re talking about”
in any domain you care to mention:
science, history, philosophy, religion, geography…
and currently COVID. I haven’t seen a single dead body in the street,
I haven’t even physically met, in the flesh, anyone who…
It’s the alchemising of all knowing of ‘facts’ that puts me in this state
of complete silence and presence
with what is actually physically around me.

The conditions that make this alchemical process possible:
holding myself up from the centre,
physically—naturally in my upright position—
anything can flow by and touch me or not.
And sometimes there’s a being held.
Sometimes I cannot tell the difference,
I just notice the effect.
That holding myself up has a very deep sense of reality.
When I’m being held by an outside agency,
it can only support my own effort.
Nobody can do it for me.
What I really want to learn
is to embrace this holding up myself.
It’s not something I have to do, it also happens.
It just appears—I don’t have to push,
and still I find myself working on it actively.
I’m pretty sure that being in the festive period with friends and family,
nurturing the fabric of close relationship
supported the re-appearance of that holding-myself-up.

There’s something occurring in me
which is really about letting go of
being a child—in the sense of
taking everything that outer authority presents
as facts that I should believe,
but I can’t verify from within.
To really stop looking at verifying anything
from the outer authority,
to really come into that from the inside,
it’s to notice all the places where I have,
in the past, looked to the outer authority
to show me how things work,
realising over these last months,
how so much of that can’t hold;
is not true, or not verifiable.
So to really be in the space,
I learn to grow up and be that inner authority,
BE the authority and not look outside
—this has many implications!
All our social, legal, political structures,
so much where: How is this done?
What is really true?
It’s a big moment!

There was also an alchemical shift in my own metabolism
the moment when I shifted from being
a citizen, tax payer, subject of Her Majesty the Queen of England,
a foreigner living on Belgian soil without Belgian nationality,
a retired person, a mother…
when I shifted from being at the bottom of the pecking order
with no rights or freedoms but what is granted me by others
to being a denizen of planet Earth, a free being.
Just landing on the Earth in my own natural authority.
What do you mean I have to accept a foreign substance into my body
because some authority says so?
It’s the centering of authority inside my body
directly arising from by my belonging to this Earth.
The physiological shift that came into my grounding from that move
has been really radical

The pure elemental nature
that is forging me at the moment
is the hot, the cold and the breath.
Showing up in everything,
the breathing practices of Wim Hof:
the most enlivening physical experiences.
It matches the winters in Portugal,
It’s intensely, directly hot here, for a few hours each day,
and we’re fully wrapped in winter clothing
because the air temperature is bracingly cold.
It’s a very curious physiological encounter with temperature.
I’m daring to do cold showers after a hot one,
daring to dip into mountain-cold waters.
Finding that my tolerance for hot-cold is one I haven’t met before.
It’s bringing me directly to a more physical encounter,
Sitting freezing, wrapped in blankets next to a gas fire…
Everything is hot-cold!
I’m experiencing – it’s more alive than being
I know so well how to moderate to different conditions…
Now I’m turning it up.

Need for warmth,
As certain things are named, the temperature drops,
or I feel warmth in the centre of my body.
How can offering someone a cup of coffee
be an act of deep tenderness?
Offering someone something warm to hold and drink…
Confusion over the last cycle
—it’s not just in me, but around me.
Possibility to do different things, in different directions,
things that feel like the right thing to do.
The alchemical time of sublimation resonates,
not just for me but for a much larger wave
of chaos and confusion, push-and-pull that’s going on,
in the public-political sphere.
It helps to know that we’re in this together,
and part of the spiral.
It can become a form to be centred around,
become something that can give a more expansive understanding,
something more than a pathologising of experience,
allowing us to say: “this is where we are at
in the cycle of life.”
For me personally, there is a need for warmth and rest.
It’s showing up as a way of centring, holding and being held.

I don’t know how to express myself now in words
– turmoil / anger / confusion inside –
sitting with it in silence.

(late call)
Collective Alchemy:
it allows me, enables me, supports me to be present,
it calls me to be present with what is
and to sense into that.
It really is about discernment.
To discern what truly matters to me,
what to me is true.
It has provided me with a framework,
a context, a set of tools, routines, a way of being
that allows for depth, and sometimes, also, simplicity.
It’s part of my toolbox for processing what I sense,
and one of the most powerful elements
is silence.
A couple of sessions ago, someone said
that our connection is strong enough to support silence.
It’s intense and it’s precious.

Collective alchemy is expressing itself
in my life, at this very moment,
so much that I had to turn to the matrix of Alchemical procedures!
It’s interesting that I don’t feel any of the symptoms
but I feel I absolutely need to engage in all of the abetting behaviours.
Across the board, every single one.
Although how one practises formality whilst maintaining inner silence
is an abetting conundrum.
I’m just really with the wisdom and the medicine of abetting
because somehow you don’t need to know who you are
or what you’re feeling
in order to be able to take that particular medicine.

This morning I expressed what happened during the Christmas season.
The burning Christmas tree was a moment to reflect on the year.
Collective Alchemy gives me a description or vocabulary
for what has been happening all my life any way.
It’s good to have some naming.
It’s an interesting map for my journey.
I had no plans for the holiday period,
in the less-than-conducive public health arrangements…
The up-side is that we are creating everything that’s going on.
Appreciation for the small things,
without the distractions of business-as-usual.
I didn’t miss the orchestra or theatre,
preferring simple dialogue.
A convergence happened on different levels,
business on a low burner to be ready for the external and astrological weather.
I could let it sink in and do its work.
We have turned upside down lots of stuff,
inventing new rituals in the family.
On the inside, a lot happened: letting go, growing out,
days and nights with meteor showers—cosmic weather was difficult and demanding.
The torus matches my inner experience!
I’m not yet done. This passive period is not yet over.
My Christmas tree is still present,
no pressure to do anything but turn inward.

The question is asking how I’m experiencing the process of collective alchemy,
and I’m asking myself what that is?
It’s what happens when people come together
in interaction and exchange—some subtle, some less so…
some things may be destroyed, some created.
The sum of all of that is how I would see
the collective alchemy of any situation I experience in my day-to-day life.
At the moment my awareness of the alchemy
that’s taking place in any group where I find myself
is more and more finely tuned
because I’m looking for particular things:
looking for clarity as to where to engage and place my energy.
There are different layers of collective:
the local community, getting together to DO things,
create new systems, play with ideas, get things started.
There’s a desire for more of that.
That expresses in my life in the process of becoming ever more true to myself,
so that within those opportunities for collective alchemy I can bring
the truest and best I can offer into the collective.
The reverse of that is to investigate a group and find no resonance.
The alchemy there then serves to bring clarity to where to focus or not.
And then there is the collective as the Whole.
The blurring between the internal and the external,
it’s feeling ever more desirous to be centred in my own trueness
and functioning from my own frequency,
not taking on what’s coming at me from outside,
from the bigger picture.
There’s a lot going on!
Looking at the Torus: surely it’s going in all directions,
on many different layers and levels of scale?!
I’m experiencing collective alchemy with a very sharp focus.
What’s being created in any moment is very present
and shaping the next step at each point.

It seems right to recognise that
the era shift is present in my life.
A large part of me is in the New. It’s unfamiliar,
and yet the old is still there.
As a multidimensional being, I can sense and feel and see it all.
There’s no sense of wanting to go back,
and yet how to have the curiosity when there are no maps?
It’s still feeling all-over-the-map – in this new terrain
I don’t want a map. I want to feel it in my body,
explore, be spontaneous, let the old patterns burn off:
knowing what’s coming, feeling familiar…
There’s a delicacy: what needs to stay and what can be cast off?
There’s deep inner sensing and discernment in each and every moment
around people and place.
Even in my aloneness: what am I feeling and working through?
The thing about ageing. So many ways to be with that,
and I’m beginning to express myself in ways I had never anticipated.
It’s exciting and fun! Instead of focusing on my physical limitations,
my body wants to dance!
It’s a continuum of releasing, letting go, burning away
and walking into that new terrain with the joy and frequency
that elevates, excites, creates – and that is natural in each one of us
if we allow ourselves to find it.
I’m happy to discover it in me.

My sense is that collective alchemy is happening
all the time in every moment.
Seeing the image of the torus helps me tune into it.
Drawing it into my inner sphere,
getting out of the way of it happening.
Noticing how I jam my own system,
put the spoke in my own wheel.
With others too.
In the human realm and beyond, fractal at every scale.
Just the possibility that that gyroscope is active all the time
throughout the places in my body that communicate.
It’s in motion, sometimes light, delicate and nondescript,
sometimes tumultuous and cataclysmic.
Allowing it to do its thing.
That is the stance that liberates me from having to figure it all out.
It doesn’t mean I don’t hold my shape,
but being in the realness of the moment
I can open, extend and expand my awareness
to ever increasing, multivalent views…
and sometimes it’s cloudy, as the wave passes through.
Honouring the shapeshifting energy of how it is.
From that awareness, I can let go
and be with what is moving through me and inviting me to act.
There is great joy in that.

Who showed up:

Gabriella Kapfer, Heather Cowen, Wini Condic Begov, Charlie Derr, Brigitte Kupfer, Madeline Snow, Judy Wallace, Georgios Kastrinos, Louise Carpenter, Pieter De Ceuninck, Marie-José d’Aprile, Neha Chaturvedi, Ursula Hillbrand, Sarah Whiteley, Helen Titchen Beeth

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Invitation Page

Collective Alchemy portal day, Friday 21 January 2022

Greetings fellow Alchemists! Within the on-going journey of our Collective Alchemy practice field, the co-sensing of this wave began with our Friday hangout two weeks ago, and the collection of embers through our check-outs to bring forward into the co-sensing* towards our circle gatherings this Friday. Your co-sensors have been Sarah, Helen, Pieter, Marie-José, Neha and Ursula. One element of our check-out from the hangout was the quality of “all-over-the-map-ness”—describing the diversity present in our

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