Harvest of Collective Alchemy Practice Circles—14 August 2020

Ineke's lillies


See also the Event invitation for more framing of this calling question:

Ringing the ancient singing bowl that supports EMBODIMENT
Really grounding and landing in the full capacities of our bodies—
so many more than we are conditioned to recognise:
not only the physical, but also the energetic,
also non-brain-based cognition.
As the planetary vibrations ascend (evolved), it can be hard
to stay anchored in our bodies (involved).
As alchemists we need to be embodied
because so much of the in-formation we are after
is coming through our bodies,
plunging us into ever greater intensities.

Naming where our feet touch the Earth allows us to feel our expanse and diversity:
from Melbourne to Tenerife, from Berlin to Los Angeles…

As Collective Alchemy approaches its 3rd birthday,
this is our 10
th cycle through the Portal together—
and the first call for some. We have continuity and freshness;
we have depth of practice and seats in other circles.
All is welcome, all is essential.

In the celtic Wildwood tarot deck, X is the Wheel,
depicted woven on the loom, the warp and the woof:
we are weavers here.
We are weaving across timelines in our bi-weekly calls
and weaving between the
Positiva and the Negativa.

Calling in the waves:
Key to the practice of Collective Alchemy is Right Timing: we are
constantly sensing for this. The cartoon featured in the invitation has been moving in and out of our awareness field since early March—only now have we sensed the time right to bring it in. It offers the form and the framing for this call. During the first phase of Collective Alchemy, which birthed the Practice Guide, some of the larger waves (climate change, biodiversity collapse, the 6th mass extinction) were already core to our sense-making. Other waves (Covid-19, racial chaos, sex trafficking) have come into being—and to the fore— more recently… Jumping their place in the queue for collective attention. There are so many waves: interpenetrating, multidimensional, hypercomplex. It is time for us to turn towards them explicitly. It feels essential for us, as Collective Alchemists, to know how to show up in these whitewater conditions. 

This cartoon image is born from within the dominant narrative of the Story of Separation. Part of that story is the dualism of good versus evil. It is tempting to feel drawn into the FIGHT of good against evil – on the side of the light, of course! Certainly in more ‘spiritual’ circles the fight is more specifically to bring the light (good) into density (bad). In the contrasting story of INTERBEING, ‘all that is, simply is’ – the practice is simply to situate ourselves within this all-that-is, without actively projecting out ‘bad’ onto half of the equation in a necessarily dualistic physical realm. We let be – moving around in the soup of existence in our deeply heart-felt, self-willed trajectory—something that takes great discernment, at least to begin with. When we live in the story of separation, we are dampening our frequencies, keeping ourselves away from the liberation zone which is where we’re designed to be. In the era shift, we are listening to it all, and not yet free from warring narratives. As we practice living from our own unique source, which communicates its deepest will through desire, we find that these living forces, in particular, have been demonised by patriarchy, while really they are manifestations welling up from our own unique creative expression of the life force. Each one of us is a portal within the Universe that brings forth its own unique production, fruit of its own unlimited found of desire. Always producing more diversity, more aliveness.

Our question takes us into both the horizontal and the vertical. It takes us wide and far into all that is happening in the world. It takes us high as well as deep. It calls both to spirit and source/to intention and will/light and dark/the rarified and the dense.


I’m in an energy of waiting:
what’s coming in those waves,
the intensity of what we’re living,
the urgent call for action…
And yet, I’m waiting,
as an ACT, a conscious choice.
Sharing this quality of waiting, presence, investigating together
is a powerful thing for me.
Even in my absences, I am present in this field,
waiting for the Right Time to be here.
For other things, the Time to be called is not there.
It’s important not to be alone in that.

Those WAVES!!
A wave washes over us, distracts us,
we drift away.
The obsession with Covid called inner work from me:
I don’t want to be distracted by this.
Nor do I want to resist.
This collective practice:
keep deepening the source of action.
Our ability to co-habit this field,
deepening who we are,
then dropping into other circles.
I feel the responsibility to abide in this space
without ignoring what is happening in the world.
Staying awake is tantamount
to being in service.
This field sources the strength
I can bring to other spheres of my life.

Two images come to me—the individual and the collective:
The heron: stillness, precision,
like a statue, creating no movement,
then swift exact strike to catch the fish.
This image scales to the river we are in;
we are called to be the steady presence in the fast-moving river;
to see who is in there with us: I SEE YOU!!
The Ents—tree beings in the Lord of the Rings.
As the dams of Isengard break, the trees face the waves
and LEAN IN to the wave action.

This speaks to the destruction of what no longer serves.
The strong, steady presence—
I feel it in my own practice,
and I feel it in our collective.
There is a body of practitioners here,
together, we are one of the Ents,
grounded, not uprooted and flung downstream.

Embracing the All-ness
in the silence I resorted to movement
to access the wisdom of the body.
It backed me into the corner of the room
where the spider revealed itself,
affirming the imagery of our check-in,
affirming the multivalent meanings of synchronicity.
What are the embodiment practices?
Surely NOT THIS!
Let’s bring in movement, to access
the wisdom of the body.
There’s frozenness everywhere.
How do we ensure we are not
always awake from the same place?
What are the embodiment practices
that unfreeze the social body?
The trauma response is in the body:
life cannot flow through stuckness!
I am reminded of BLENDING:
going with the direction of the energy,
not against it.

Imagining embodiment, I found myself drenched
by a wave of longing
to be TOGETHER, in person, for a week!
With vegetables, a kitchen, nature, fire, a forge, metal, song, dance, CHOCOLATE!!!
The multidimensional bonding afforded by sharing physical space over time.

Blending is like the alchemical move of abetting:
leaning in, embracing.
We cannot serve the era shift by taking sides.
And yet we feel it in our bodies when we do:
flowing into identification with our inner pugilist,
crystalising into a fixed position on the game board.
The abetting move is to lean in
to whatever it is we’re reacting to,
to open up to curiosity: What is it like to be you?
A letting go of one’s attachment to one’s own identity.
There’s a paradox:
There’s something in me which is unique, vital,
belonging utterly to the living universe,
that I cannot access while I maintain the various face, received identities
I have constructed for myself, for all those good reasons.
They must be shed like dead skin
just so we can BE the medicine we are.
Knowing that if we follow our bodies
we will end up exactly in the corner where we can see the spider.
My identity as Alchemist, too, will fall away,
as these practices become a natural part of who I am.

That noticing of synchronicities is important: pointing to
all the ways in which we are in a communicative, creative, productive dance with life.
There is so much help out there that we—humanity—are not seeing
from within the Story of Separation.
Where does the pre-sentiment of the imminent waves come from?
It’s help being given, constantly.

To DO or not to DO?
I’m relaxing, leaning in, watching, waiting…
The waves move at different speeds.
The speed of life can create interference waves.
Today I am on holiday: no make-up, skin soft from the rain, sinking into my bed.
An active relaxing—how can we feel the Earth hold us if we don’t let go?
Being with the elements
sharpens my senses.
The pomander on my dresser holds human energies.
This is a time of letting go, not knowing,
not delivering, producing.
I’m resisting being sucked into the dramas
or fixated by the backlog of my to-do list.
Thank God Europe still does holidays!
Me and the breadcrumbs of my ego—what to do with them?
Nothing, yet.
Let them lie there, at my feet; food for the birds
(echoes of Hansel and Gretel).
They also serve, who watch and wait.
I use a peripheral gaze to capture the shooting stars.
A soft gaze, feminine.
The frenetic wave is poised to crash over me…
in September.

I thought I was too tired for this call.
Now I feel inspired!
When I was much younger,
Hansel and Gretel fell out of their storybook,
so they had to write their own chapters.

I think what I’m in is SYNAPTIC PRUNING
removing connections:
I’m done with certain people,
my mode of engagement is shifting.
I can’t afford distractions of drama.
This pruning is of service.
Your stories help me.

We have a lock-down garden
with a flowered centre:
the smell of the rain on the earth.
Reading Radical Wholeness together as a family.
The restrictions on our young ones.
Pruning is happening.

For me, the silence was unsilent:
many directions, angles, turbulence and sadness.
I felt drawn to the centre of the “mainstream” circle
looking at the enclosing walls
that keep out all the taboos…
I am struck that you cannot manipulate your will with your mind.
Why didn’t I become a university professor?
Only now am I aware of my regret.
Now I’m more aware of what’s moving in me.
I can be in many places at once.
Water can flow in more than once direction: current & undercurrent.
This strengthens the other side: WHAT’S BEYOND THE WALL?
This practice field helps me grow
beyond what I have known.
I feel pulled in two directions.

Pay attention to what brings us joy;
lean towards that.
Be alert to the synchronicities calling from the field;
follow the threads the Universe spins out for us.
Do our own inner work—de-conditioning,
healing our trauma, questioning.
Be willing to not be right, be willing to not know.
Deepen our connection with the Earth,
experience our interconnectedness with all of life
at the cellular level.

Let go of the ego to make room for the collective,
AND stay close to the self, to our own truth.
Come prepared to the practice.
How can we prepare,

How” involves another process.
For me, it’s beyond how.

When I see the waves, I remember the day,
15 years ago, when my father received the message
of incurable cancer.
How family, friends, community held it before our eyes.
Let us not be distracted by what is happening.
Those 18 months were among the most intense and connected,
vulnerable, real and beautiful.
When we are collectively prepared
to look death in the eye
and welcome it into the circle
life becomes so intense, real and authentic.
This time round, it’s about the death of all of us,
our world and maybe our Earth.
It’s too much to hold alone.
I crave to share this holding with others,
to remain here unwavering, to share that love of life.
It takes deep courage and vulnerability.

I remember sea-kayaking in Sweden,
encountering waves—they were messing up my navigation!
My friend invited me to stop fighting the waves
and to let them lift me up and move me forward.
Now I can see myself facing the waves—
and I can turn my back on them
to see where they are going to take me.
I must be ready to receive these waves
as they touch my back,
lift me up and take me where they want me to go.
Be present, be ready.
The waves will do the work.

I often walk along the beach,
often in the water.
Sometimes the waves are destabilising
and sometimes I must fight to remain upright.
The waves erode the sand, taking away
something that was there a moment ago.
We are all impacted by these big issues,
to big to hold alone.
What are the little waves that come into my own life?
My daughters, the US elections…
We must be aware, and acknowledge what is
before we can act.
It’s OK sometimes to not be OK—it’s actually a sign of strength.
Carving out an existence that makes sense
and creates the safety that gives
courage to act.

I’ve seen these waves coming for 30 years.
When you’re caught in a rip tide, you don’t fight it.
Seeking the enjoyment of the bigger waves on an unfamiliar beach:
if I go with the current, I could end up on the cliffs.
The science of geomorphology was of no help in that moment:
out of my depth, going the wrong direction
into waves bigger than I could handle…
and nobody knew I was there. A solitary journey, this.
Holding my breath as each wave came, to duck under and preserve my strength.
Float as best I could, turn back towards the beach whenever possible.
Catch the catchable waves and move back across the surface
over the unrelenting undertow.
40 minutes later, I greeted my sun-bathing wife on the strand:
“Oh, where have you been?” she said.
My individual journey not even recognised by those closest to me
in the moment of danger.

In the context of these waves coming,
my Beloved saw me. She saw me going under.
She reached out, rescued me like the albatross
too full of plastic to fly the oceans.
We hold each other.
This is the collective practice. This is the co-regulation:
recognising when the other is going under,
being there to provide a stable support,
holding them with love until they can gasp for breath.
We had one of those days yesterday:
after a brief thunderstorm we stood
in the kitchen, in the dark,
hearing the 8pm neighbourhood clap,
in grief and love for a parched garden that has
received a drenching rain,
recognising that these waves are getting bigger.
Our individual selves, our individual coping will be insufficient.
Such circles as these provide the recognition and solace
of others that are paying attention
to who is floating
and who is sinking.
Paying attention to the waves.

The energy goes where the attention is,
and the attention goes where the energy is.
The alchemical process is this cyclical process
of shedding what drags me down so
I can help another when something is dragging them down.
In the personal is the universal,
and in the universal is the personal.

What does it mean to be awake during this time
and not look away?
How to be fully embodied and present
to the experience of what’s going on
without judgement?
Those who appear to be dismantling the system…
The sense of community can be a resource—
on the ground and across the planet—
a sense of interbeing, interconnection,
while still being willing to witness
what is going on out there,
on the planet where we live.
We’ll experience waves of death:
of the systems I have known all my life,
those which I value and those which no longer serve,
without knowing what will rise to replace them.
I see it happening faster and faster.
To be present together, to hold it all
—the good and the bad all happening at once—
without succumbing to the constant distractions,
while something larger unfolds.
What is my role? What is our role?
Receiving the fear and the grief,
holding it together
with all the other beings
who share this space.

Here (in the US), increasing autocratic take-over.
Yet, fog in Whitby: that’s something too!
Yes, to staying out of the story of separation,
including my feeling that it’s worse in the USA.
And, to stay steady, as Ram Dass put it,
say to everything that happens:
“Ah, this.”
On the planet, there are many things that aren’t “working” and are crashing,
to the point–however horrific and terrifying it can be for us–
where enough of us can see and act on the need for change.
It could be what is happening now, as terrible as it is,
is to prevent something worse from occurring down the line.

How immobilising it is to be a victim
—when you sense something has crossed a boundary.
Where is my sense of myself,
to find my way back into my strength?
This has been my practice in recent days.

Living in this question,
I experience many more moments
of expansive love.
My body’s journey through this question was
the dance of seaweed
as it moves under the water,
mimicking the wave action.
Sometimes I am like that seaweed
as the storm waves move through.
My mind wonders: which wave should I mimic?
While the body embraces all the waves at once,
condensing the polarities, the complexity into a single point
so intense that it
In these moments, I can see it all clearly,
embracing the information without trying to understand it,
as unconditional love erupts from my chest.
Connected to the depth of Earth, source of life
and the universal life, connection to my infinite soul.
It’s a challenge to operate from
all dimensions of my being at once.
Love, values, boundaries.
I am part of this shift.
I don’t know what my role is,
but I choose to show up fully with everything I’ve got.
Open to what will emerge
out of all this beauty.

I’m stuck in the warring narratives!
“No need to come down on one side or the other”
feels like ABDICATION!
I cannot get out of it to contemplate.
What’s the way to stay
out of the warring narratives
and still have an impact?
I’m not letting go, and I’m fearful!
If I let go: what will happen?
There are some waves you just have to stop
even if you must die trying.

I was brought memories
of birthing my two children.
Both showed up in difficult positions.
The first time, I diligently fought the pain—
thereby making it worse!
The second time,
I was accompanied by a doula.
She didn’t do much, just
placed logs on the fire,
encouraging what was innately in me,
enabling me to accompany the pain
—creating an energy with sound—
by matching it, I dissolved it.
Rode with it.
Tuning into the energy of the moment
in supporting community
is how we stay awake.

I have nothing to add.
I’m awash in the power and perfection
of what has been emerging in our centre!
It feels like we’re being shown the way.
We are constantly being helped.
At every level life is helping us.
What I’m hearing from every offering
is showing that THE HELP IS THERE.
This 10th wave is logarithmic.

This 10th wave feels significant.
X in the tarot is the Wheel of Fortune:
it speaks of right time, right place, right people;
it speaks of transition, endings and beginnings;
it speaks of attuning and aligning as the trajectory of the next wave opens.

I have been breathing in, breathing out,
metabolising, grieving.
My heart is pounding—
I don’t fully know why.
I’m deeply, viscerally touched.
In this Alchemical Circle, we open into ceremony.
The tincture that we offer into our own field nature
in how we share, then spills out into our lives moving forward.
I feel the ripple effect here,
the emotions barrelling through my system.
It’s intense.
We are securing for sea.
This call is of that nature:
learning to be in INTENSITY.

And so, I am allowing myself to be touched,
able to withstand the intensity of emotions, pain and more.
We are in white water times:
it’s what happens when the waves fall.
How do we prepare ourselves for those levels of responsiveness
that emergencies activate in us? We are in it!
Our circles are safe harbours.
Is our practice embedded and embodied enough
to rise to the occasion?
Can we be present with those who have no such harbours,
and have no idea these waves are on the way?

It’s hard to show up
when there’s still so much separation;
to bring compassion and empathy,
to act on behalf of the system,
metabolising also the pain of others.

Feeling the love
Leaning into the hug
Swaying closer together
Holding each other in the dark
Amidst the unwashed pots from the
Evening meal of sumptuous vegetables
Picked straight from the home garden
After the brief, life-giving storm.
So fresh, tasty, nutritious
We’d crunched loudly
And ecstatically
Every, single
Of organic wine
Emptied, white and red,
Fuelled stories from our pasts
Prompted memories of our former lives
As cooler air flowed across still dry land
Wet briefly from the thundery sky
And the need, relieved, for
One evening at least
To water living
And dying
And tears
Each of us feeling
Tremulous shivers; quivering
As the other’s grief is so deeply recognized
And held in a growing sense—for a long time now—
That in these, these darkening hours, it is almost too late
To revisit these places loved, far away in distance and time
For these former worlds are nearly lost, yet not forgotten
By lovers embracing; closely-bound in love and grief
Each becoming more, whole, coherent, and alive
Taking turns to surrender; vulnerably, drifting
As the other—more able, in that moment—
Turns, with courage, to face the waves
That loom and threaten to drown us
And holds both heads up to face
The unfolding harsh realities,
To focus, breathe and let
The rising waves pass
Through me, we.
I’ll hold you
Hold me
Feel it; how
The love for places, and
The love of cities, cultures, ecosystems
We each knew differently, from our other worlds
Arises in us differently through our shared new lenses
As Both the pleasures of our experiences
And the pain of our grieving losses
Simultaneously clamour
For our attention in
This moment
Being held
By both
Locked down
Locked in step, together
As the church bells toll, we count
As we do each night, hearing each chime
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven |Eight
And our neighbours clap, with respect, for those who care
Those who show up, gown up, mask up, and imperil their lives
On behalf of strangers they’ve never met and may never know
Standing by, holding space; loving doulas of life or death,
Whatever course destiny holds for those with them
Whatever path this moment reveals for them,
As they struggle with their next breaths.
But this night we do not join them
For we ourselves cannot bear
To separate right now
From this embrace
In these waves
This moment
As we hold
Our grief
Our love
We stand
Together, swaying
Holding each other in the dark
As we fondly remember, who we were
And the stories of our separate lives, far apart
Lives lived here and elsewhere, there and DownUnder
One of Nature, natural; the other of City, cultural
Both respecting, striving for more coherence
Between who we are now called to be
And who we each were then
I’ll hold you; you hold me
As in this moment
We become
WE, here

Who showed up

Daniela Tablado, Jenny Hegland, An van Dam, Ineke Hulselmans, Ursula Hillbrand, Brigitte Kupfer, Anne Billen, Neil Davidson, Anna Brunain, Patricia Hunt Perry, Ellen Decoodt, Judy Wallace, Madeleine Schwab, Shiila Safer, Inna Chilik, Molly Whiteley, Niki Jewett, Sarah Whiteley, Helen Titchen Beeth.



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Invitation Page

Invitation to Practice

Our Invitation to practice Collective Alchemy continues 14 August 2020

AS THE WAVES OF CHANGE INCREASE AND INTENSIFY, WHAT IS OURS TO DO AS FELLOW ALCHEMISTS IN COLLECTIVE PRACTICE? HOW DO WE STAY AWAKE TO WHAT’S COMING WHILE REMAINING BOTH STEADY AND RESPONSIVE  IN SERVICE OF THE ERA SHIFT?   As the world balances on the edge of chaos, we can only take one step at a time. There is now a body of us practicing Collective Alchemy, holding the crucible together over time, witnessing

Read More »


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