Recentring on the core purpose of Collective Alchemy: “to prepare awakening humans to step into co-creative, transformative, generative (r)evolution with all life; to consciously face the rite of passage which is upon us, where we come out a mature species or we don’t come out at all.”
In the light of our core purpose, the focus of our gathering today, is to co-frame our village: its purpose and its practices.
Framing is the ‘secret weapon’ of good hosting, good leadership, good collective work. It tends to be done by the leader, by the hosting team, by the few on behalf of the many. Framing provides a clear understanding of purpose, context, constraints… Our village is not just a bunch of friends coming together for a barbecue. We are practitioners, coming together to practice. Whenever we are gathered in the name of Collective Alchemy, we are practicing Collective Alchemy. Inviting us to co-frame our next step together will strongly determine how we collectively perceive and experience our community of practice going forward. This is about getting ourselves on the same page, collectively and co-creatively. We also have an opportunity to influence the depth and the altitude we want to work at. To punch through to new heights, to drill down to new depths.
Our co-sensing was strongly informed by the energy of calcination – we have been here before, and so we might be coming full cycle, burning away the next layer of false roots. Symptoms include anxiety, loss and fear of loss, external upheavals, and we abet in this phase by avoiding blaming ourselves and others and refraining from attempts to explain. The base matter of false roots transmutes into the energy of confidence.
Framing the circle.
Within and around our circle is our village square. In the spirit of co-owning—which has its charge and its shadows, and its engagements—there’s something about that claiming of the right, the responsibility; the activation that comes when we really show up and bring what we have to the table and want something to flourish.
This circle is about building the framework of our village hall.
We have the land, we have our purpose, we have the energy of the Via Creativa.
Co-framing our last co-sensing call became the doorway to our co-framing our village today.
One of the ways we flow together in Collective Alchemy practice is through ‘sourcing from the present’. Another description of this practice is enshrined in the Tenets of Improv. These can perhaps guide us in this exercise of co-framing.
What is the frame we see arising from the purpose of our collective alchemy village?
An invitation from another practice space seems resonant:
We have been out of time …
an awareness of a new phase, as though a different ‘time’ ….
living with a new and natural sense of timelessness ….
living as though beyond measure, an easeful way of being
with everything ….
as though in a dream but ever more present with reality ….
Is it truly possible to have this much ease from morning though to evening where each moment seamlessly flows into another and each one is touched by and wrapped together with the constant sense of appreciation for how beautiful this living with Earth can be?
And then we are hearing and observing craziness of the other world. Yes, it intersects, creates ripples, requires wakefulness and alignment and also creates movement and strengthens this new way of being.
Can you sense it yourself?
When you allow yourself to be carried by the deep force of nature underneath the rumbling, chaos, destruction and challenges of some of the outer reality, can you still perceive and sense the flow that is available?
Invite it, relax into it, allow it to carry you through the more challenging encounters with the world.
I’m drawn to the energies of water.
The metaphors shared here,
and the dance of mixing metaphors.
The pebble itself, its drop through
and the movement of the water
it connects with,
I was drawn to the aspect of consequence.
The consequences of the ripples,
The consequence of the actions
we might feel called to.
(To quote Steven Jenkinson:)
To be awake is to be gathered into the web of consequence.
Where, “A” is an old English root for locating,
as in “at,” or “of,” or “with.”
And a wake is not only a ceremony to honour the dead,
but also what precedes and extends out after you
as you move through water.
Thus, to be awake,
is to recognize the consequences of the movement of your being.
My mind’s eye,
reflecting and refracting through,
is the consequences of our movement,
our being as a collective,
where any one of us, in our atunement and alignment,
is part of the cycling and evolving and sloughing and unfolding.
I was struck:
the ripple effect of the kingfisher diving through water:
the precision of the dive,
how does that relate to consequences?
For me, the awareness comes when we are in the
continual unfolding and experience of it,
we’re in the sensing of the ingredients,
finding the pots that feel most essential,
bringing the wood to the fire:
participating in the engagement of ‘too much’ or ‘a bit more’.
In the energies of co-creation.
The village square either stays in one place
and the river flows round it and through it,
or its nomadic.
The engagement of the movement of the village in transit.
Perhaps it’s one and the same,
a question of perception.
When the villagers are connected to the village,
they care about it,
ensuring its beauty and boundaries,
and the permeability and welcoming
that allow the fluidity and growth,
whilst being protective, fierce and ruthless
in the face of what can be damaging.
Coherence over time.
That summarises everything that’s been said so far.
It requires truth, courage, gathering in the field of consequence.
The principle of 7 generations.
Adding to the 7-generations…
primary obligations in most indigenous cultures:
serve and be a steward of the earth
serve future generations.
There’s a paradox around balance.
You cannot serve the future by sacrificing the present.
You cannot serve nature by sacrificing the self.
Part of the work of alchemy is burning away
all of the conditioning which has us out of balance
in one way or the other,
either towards the self or towards the collective,
or towards the future from the present,
or towards the past…
In the timelessness aspect,
it’s all present at once.
Part of what I want to invoke is
an acceptance of the possibility
that perfect peace, harmony, beauty, health
Here and now.
And they are only possible if we live as if they are.
In the life of the village,
in the spirit also: this village is a prototype of what is possible…
that at any time I find myself behaving in a way that
any part of me knows is fomenting discord, strife, harm or unwellness
that I refrain, by just stopping, and opening up.
There’s nothing else to do. Nothing more that’s needed,
than just… stopping and opening up. Relinquishing.
The kingfisher. The directness. Like the archer
firing the arrow into the water:
there’s no ripple because the consequences
are metabolised instantly, in the eternal Now.
Just by stopping and opening up,
the past is also healed,
the consequences are also absorbed and healed.
Fluidity is the energy that’s with me.
I’ve been connecting very deeply with my river.
Calling in my capacity to listen and be with the water,
the water within me too.
Listening to the river at night.
I was treated to an experience of the exuberance of nature.
It felt like that invitation to myself,
to be open to listening to the river,
had unleashed this explosion of activity.
For an hour, the badgers, otters, big fish, eels…
a joyful splashing about during the night.
I hadn’t heard it before.
I was being treated, being shown this exuberance, playfulness,
that’s a direct response from nature to my desire to listen,
to be with the waters.
Returning from a walk in the woods,
a kingfisher flew in the corner of my eye.
The clear accuracy and speed of the kingfisher,
the flash of blue,
bringing me to a place where I’m questioning
what the village is.
Wondering if there are false roots to be pulled out
in terms of any concepts being carried around
what a village is.
Being nomadic resonates strongly.
The fluidity of what’s becoming available to us
as citizens of the New Earth
that opens up potential that’s very new,
very unfamiliar, right at the edge of our perception.
The bowl that I played was co-created with the energy of those edge lands,
the meeting between what is already manifest and what is yet to manifest.
Silver, transmutational energy around the periphery of my vision:
there’s something coming into possibility
which brings a new way of being in community.
It’s fluid, self-organising, and there isn’t a held structure.
There’s the energy of sovereign beings within the whole,
containing the whole,
and movement within that.
Fluidity of interrelationship, coming together,
moving in different constellations,
being in the flow.
The image came to me of a Fresnel lens.
It is what is in the lighthouse.
“The design allows the construction of lenses
of large aperture and short focal length
without the mass and volume of material
that would be required by a lens of conventional design.
A Fresnel lens can be made much thinner
than a comparable conventional lens.
The lens has outer elements that use
total internal reflection as well as refraction;
it can capture more oblique light from a light source
and add it to the beam of a lighthouse,
making the light visible from greater distances.”
Many of those elements resonated:
large aperture and short focus,
using total internal reflection
capturing more oblique light
to be visible from greater distances.
Stepping into co-creative…
Rite of passage.
Which feels like it’s moving from fake to real.
We’ve been living in an artificial world
for so long we don’t even recognise it.
Including our own selves: we’re taught to be fake—
we’re forced to be fake.
On pain of death.
In fact, sometimes the moment of death
is the only moment of reality we experience
in our entire lives.
I want to invoke,
as guidance to our practice,
that the village is a place where
we can learn to discern what is real
in us, in the moment.
It’s a miracle that we’re all here!
How did this happen?
Regarding the frame that arises,
There’s a chaos first.
We’re all going to see elements of it.
The being real.
The artificial world we live in is part of it.
We need to feel free just putting out a fragment of the frame
and seeing how it coalesces.
“Everything that arises must converge”
Let’s see what arises,
and how it converges.
A key element of truth is simplicity.
“Awakening” keeps flashing,
Reflecting on any decision I have made,
they were actually simple.
If you’re true to yourself,
get rid of the mist around it,
then it’s very simple.
Moving on the collective level,
which we aspire to,
also means connecting on a being level.
A few months ago,
there was something I had to do,
and I came to the last half hour of our meeting.
I was blown away by the feeling that existed among us.
I can’t describe it, but it was palpable.
It feels like our collective movement
is about all these other things,
but it is also about whatever is generated
when we meet together,
that I cannot describe.
I just know it was there, I was startled by the feeling of it
when I came an hour and a half late.
When we move, we need to recognise that as well.
Whatever binds us together
whatever we experience when we meet
and when we are not meeting
is very powerful.
I would like us to recognise that it has nothing to do
with time or geography.
It exists so powerfully,
and it’s a strong basis for collective movement.
It’s beyond time and space and words,
but it’s there,
and it’s powerful.
This is not spiritual practice.
It’s science – in some way.
Goethean science, perhaps.
No matter what it might have looked like
to people stepping in to this practice,
there’s nothing that’s recognisable as conventional leadership.
No individuals with an agenda in the collective.
There’s a protecting, a stewarding of the practice.
That has something to do with way this is such a clean space.
Because it is!
We recognise that you can’t practice alchemy and protect your ego.
Collective Alchemy is about going for the jugular together.
The deep underlying longing is for realness.
Any and every story, narrative, metaphor
will be washed away.
And replaced by another.
The ‘we’ who circle up as the crucible
Can observe, can witness the forms rising and falling.
We can witness our own emotional, visceral, habitual and authentic
reactions and responses.
We can look at each other and go “Nah! That’s not it either!”
The very fact of being leaderless at this time
creates powerful alchemy.
We’re trying to work out how to move collectively, on the one hand.
But it’s not about working out how to do it,
it’s noticing that we are doing it,
and learning how to go with what we somehow instinctively know how to do.
I don’t see any other purpose
for my presence in the village
than to be true to the purpose of Collective Alchemy.
I am curious to hear/invite/speak
what have been those awakening moments
for each of you, and us,
in being authentic and stepping into some form of co-creation?
I find it quite hard in daily life to spot
those initiation rites, those moments where you grow
into something else.
If I sum it up, I feel the society mostly invites us
to be teenagers, and then go straight to death.
With nothing in between.
There is no passage that presents itself, that’s shared.
Is there space in the frame of the purpose of the village
to share these things?
3 elements create a triangulation point.
Remembering the impulse to draw 3 cards at the beginning of our co-sensing:
Focus: Balance (grounded, rooted, aligned)
Advice: Archer (aim, clear, direct and anchored, precise)
Most Benevolent Outcome: Blasted oak (the lightning strike).
Initiation rites: what are those rites of passage,
This fall, this cataclysmic strike
seared some branch in my brain.
We’ve just invoked the space to open yet further
in a new time.
I have that sense, when a baby comes through
it has to have a malleable skull to get through.
Being malleable and adaptive, yet resilient.
The movement from being in the womb to being out,
there’s a lot of loss.
Like the leave-taking of death: what is that?
Does anybody here have a frame?
Like the elephant in the dark.
It’s when we source from the present in the field,
as a tendril in the field space,
because of that presence, that tone that allows us to tap into the field
it’s because it’s Collective Alchemy that we tap this particular zone.
You can’t alchemise if people aren’t in the field with you,
So practice is essential.
In the awakening of the Collective Alchemy village:
to be awake is to recognise the consequences of our movement and our being.
What does it mean to live according to the principles of nature?
Nature will decide the consequences.
Kingfisher shows us there are ways of moving through the universe
with very few consequences.
When I act from the truth of my being
from the archer’s stance of centred, balanced, grounded
congruence with myself,
I cannot afford to think about the consequences.
Which means that I must have completely and fully
owned and accepted them before I even act.
So again, this time thing.
This strange collapsing of past, presence and future,
of linearity of cause and effect
all collapses into the moment.
That collapsing feels like the zero-point energy field,
the black hole at the centre of the torus.
The energetic shape of the torus holds the shape of the village.
There’s a going out and a coming in,
an expanding and a contracting.
The polarities that collapse in upon themselves
to manifest something in an instant.
This is the nature of alchemy.
All of those moments of collapse and implosion
seem like rites of passage.
A rite of passage is any moment
when you actually receive the consequences.
The blasted oak is helpful.
Where I’m being prodded and pulsed,
the questions are coming up.
I’m questioning if village is a helpful concept to be working with.
What old connotations and structures around a village are we carrying?
I’m struggling with the statement that
there is no leadership in the Collective Alchemy village—
with the definition that leadership is somehow unwelcome in a collective,
where what arises in me is —what’s the difference between stewarding and leadership?
If Sarah & Helen both decided to go away for a couple of months, what would happen?
The framing arising from the core purpose brings through me a strong desire
for things to be way more explicit than they are.
If we’re all in the village square,
how is it that we are practicing alchemy in this moment?
In a way that serves that purpose?
My sense is that it’s something around being
more genuinely self-organising.
Sovereignty, each of us being whole and sovereign, but not separate:
we each encompass everything, holographically.
There’s something that requires breaking through.
I’m feeling blocked, with regard to this co-framing of the collective alchemy village
in service of the collective alchemy purpose.
I’m with the calcination energy, really strongly.
If the substance is burned so that nothing remains but ashes,
it’s so powerful.
I think we’re hesitating to go there.
That’s making my heart race.
My attention is drawn
to a section in the practice guide
called collective consciousness and conscious collectives.
Principles for navigating the shift.
The village as phoenix,
arising from its ashes after every calcination.
Who showed up:
Marie-José d’Aprile, Patricia Hunt Perry, Madeleine Schwab, An van Damme, Georgios Kastrinos, Pieter DeCeuninck, Louise Carpenter, Sarah Whiteley, Helen Titchen Beeth