Harvest of Collective Alchemy Practice Circles – 22 May 2020

Calcination Image 5.22.20 - JH

Alchemy is a structured process of transformation which proceeds through a sequence of phases, the first of which is Calcination. This is what we worked with in our calls on 22 May, based on the calling question:


In Calcination, ‘the substance is burned until nothing remains but ashes’. What is burned in calcination is the base matter of false roots. The false roots we are called to burn are our attachments to all transient conditions that distract us from who we really are. We can detect these false roots through symptoms of anxiety, the pain of loss and the suffering caused by fear of loss, and the onslaught of external upheavals—symptoms which seem very much to be part of life these days. Alchemically, all losses have just one purpose: to reconnect you with your true self. As alchemists, then, our interest lies in speeding up the process of calcination so we can spend as much of our lives as possible in the productive pursuit of living as who we really are. And yet, this intense burning is not something we are likely to relish; it smacks of great suffering. While we could (and many do) reduce our suffering by learning detachment and developing inner composure through practices like meditation, from an alchemical perspective, that is irrelevant. Resisting, clinging, struggling will only make that fire burn hotter and faster, and the resulting calcination will be rapid and thorough!

Situating us in history

Welcome us. Welcome our places, bringing their power to our practice.

We are in a pivotal time, this era shift we serve with this practice.
Entering the 4
th cycle, we are an ever-shifting constellation.
We all hold wisdom, we are all medicine, we are all learners here, in Beginner’s Mind.

A lot has changed since this Portal last opened.
Many of us are loosening out of Lockdown, after months of sheltering-in-place.
Moving out feels more uncertain than moving in did, showing up in so many different permutations, meanings made, expressions:
Are we safe? Is it time? What is changed in me and mine? What else has ended, changed, is lost?
What else is still in motion, beyond the Pandemic, that is calling for our attention?
Who are we now?

What is false? How do we live into what is true?
Once we have crossed off our list of ‘I am…’ everything that is impermanent or tied to this one life…what is left?
How does it feel to contemplate this?
What arises in us, energetically? Emotionally?
What do we need to relinquish?


Freedom to move, to express myself, to dispose of my own body,
to be who I want… legally!
To speak up, to disagree, to stay, to go.
Freedom is a root feeding so many branches;
Quality, depth, flavour…
Dedication and commitment taste different without Freedom.

Crossing items from the list
leaves the trace of a memory, or an essence, distilled.
That essence could be Love.
Can I be an expression of Love, Now?
Is that not really the Work, for me?

Nothing remained on my list:
I am nothing.
What does it mean to be without attachment?
There is nothing that cannot change,
and when I’m dead, there’s nothing.
What have I not thought of, that could have stayed on my list,
that I might hear in others’ words?

Here is the familiar racing heart…
Some Truth is coming out.
I’m moving my life, right now. Literally.
What am I keeping? What am I leaving behind?
I have no home. Where will I go?
I am letting go of being someone who is strong.
This is part of the coherence of my experience.
I’m right in the crucible—fizzing with energy…
and I am still me.
There is a sense of being stripped back
to someone who can look out from behind eyes
and see the world as someone
who is generous.

I am alive, I am whole.
Listening, my heart beats.
I’m alive! That’s who I am.
I would be afraid to let go of being human—
I don’t know who I would be if I did.
Do animals fall into the trap of feeling separation?
As consciousness expressed in a human body…
As any other form of life…
That is the unknown!

I have changed tribes and communities many times.
I crossed off 3 things from a list of 40!
If you take things energetically, then they can stay on the list.
I found out who I really am in my essence.. and some things I doubt!
I’m a wild woman. That’s archetypal, so that stayed.
I am a Beloved… That, I stumbled over.
How can I be a Beloved independently of external conditions?
I will not have to cross it off my list if I can embody it,
even in my immortal cells.

Nothing on my list was hard to let go of;
and I’m afraid to let go of my relationship with my partner.
I have always known I am a core of pure light—all beings have this.
Just that.
I cannot let go of the only thing I am.
So I am confused by my pain
about something that didn’t even make the list.
Why am I afraid to let go?
“I am a Beloved”—I could have written that…
The core of light doesn’t give a damn, but
being alive, being all these things in this life,
I feel pain at the prospect of letting go.

I am afraid to let go of relationship.
Who would I be, if there were no other to dance with?
Who would I be, if there were no other to respond,
to show me that I exist?
If that’s not there, I’m not interested. I don’t want to play anyway!
My belief in the existence of the other is grounded in experience;
I’ll go down in flames rather than relinquish it!

I’m conscious, and I’m afraid
of falling into distraction or illness
that knocks out my capacity for awareness.
None of that came from my list.
I am light, I am love, I am a wild flower.
It’s good to be able to come to such places if I’m conscious.
Who would I be if I ‘weren’t here’?

As I read the invitation, I wondered:
can I contribute to this process?
Your invitation was a tidal wave!
How to value myself? How to be of service? How to contribute with money?
I thought I had cleared out my fears,
and then my fears washed through me like a tsunami!
Now I have let go of everything…
and I remain a creator.
Is that arrogant?
There is an essence, being an architect of creation.
Without knowing who, or where, or what I will be,
I have kept the desire to be a creator.
Creation is a question mark. A loop.
I might also reclaim that I’m a healer.
That’s something I am learning to admit—I feel the light of that truth.
Perhaps in the times that are coming,
we will all learn that we can heal.

I believe—whether I deserve it or not—this is it, for me.
This is the last time round.
I crossed off everything that has ‘I am’ because
I don’t believe I will continue to exist after I die.
Playing in this question earlier today,
I came up with my fear of letting go of my disappointment, my inadequacy, my impotence,
There was a laziness in crossing everything off the list;
In waiting for non-existence to take care of everything.
I haven’t known how to use my power in a beautiful way;
I haven’t seen it done in my family.
I’ve been afraid of stepping into my power.
No matter how much work I’ve done, I don’t trust.
I remember a time when I decided that
if I couldn’t choose to create anything positive,
I could still choose to completely incapacitate myself.
I have done so much work to root out negativity,
it has become my pattern…
I need to focus on creating what I want…
and I find I have no imagination of how to do that,
or maybe I’m too afraid to even try.
I’m placing in the crucible a lot of confusion, fog and narrative.

Through resonance with your reflections I have added to my list.
I am consciousness…
the wakefulness of that quality, and the power.
I am a co-creator.
Do I let go of all of that, when I let go of life?
My capacity to affect the field beyond life is affirmed
by the signatures of my guides and ancestors.
Sometimes I feel I am running out of time,
if I assume that my ability to affect the field ceases
when I pass into the ancestral plane.
I have lived experience that our impact doesn’t end with death.
This morning I had an alchemical blow-out
around my own expectations…
I know consciousness continues, if I am embodied or not.

Words are disappearing.
Letting go of time, the past that influences the future;
linearity and what that entails for this life of mine.
When letting go of that, I land in a different reality
where I can visit moments in any when.
It’s bliss! I can experience that very moment without attachment
to concern around cause and effect.
Can I really unconditionally love EVERYTHING
I am in relationship with at any moment?
I find no words for who I would be then—
everything matters, and nothing matters.
That brings a fear of removal from 3D reality,
or fear to be sucked in too much.

The words are falling away.
Spacious emptiness inside.
Does that need to be spoken?
On my list, what is left is spirit.
I don’t believe that can be lost,
but my fear is there.
What happens if spirit is lost?
It’s so unimaginable that I’m in denial of the possibility.

I’m afraid to let go of the experience of motherhood.
I am my own child.
I am my relational self.
If, after you die, people continue to love you,
you never really die.
That informs me why I’m so interested in traditions.
I want to share traditions with a child
the way my mother did with me.
My desire to pass something on to someone else
is rooted in my fear of being forgotten when I die.
It terrifies me that I might make the decision with my life
that will curtail my capacity to continue to influence the future.

My lack of words is rooted in a desire for self-honesty.
I’m still half baked here.
I’m afraid to let go of what protects me from suffering.
Every belief of mine serves as a shield
from an unending jungle of howling winds;
never-ending terror.

This is the day of a powerful new moon,
followed by three eclipses.
What might the new world look like?
I see a return to nature, with far fewer humans, Earth alive.
I have found in myself what that would mean:
the collapse of the economic system and of government.
How can I be supported? How can I know if we’ll be OK?
A taking back of myself… currently subsidized as an older person.
Who would I be on the other side of this transition?
Reconnecting as a soul to the planet, to community;
other ways of accessing food.
Some form of this is coming quite soon.
How can I bring the full presence of the light that I am
into service of this transition?

There’s not much I’m afraid to let go of.
Where I came to is this:
What i resist letting go of is my belief in a benevolent universe.
There’s even a word for that: Pronoia.
Who would I be without it?
Contemplation opened up a vast hole, a huge empty space
if I didn’t believe that the underlying energy of manifestation was benevolent.
That brought me to my heart.
What can I be? What can I offer?
What is a belief, when it can be based in experience?
Is it resistance, when I’m not prepared to let go of an experience I have lived?

The ‘I’ in I am stayed on the list;
as did “I am a mystery.”
I am reminded of a non-ordinary state
where everything had dissolved with the exception of one eye—
the I that I’m afraid to let go of.
The ‘I’ that is all the other things on the list that I identify with.
This tangible experience, trusting that there’s something more
than the identity I hold onto.
How will I know more about the I as I cling and relate?
I see something in the mystery of that which I am, beyond the I
in the notion of a benevolent universe, the goodness of humanity,
our passion and love… it all remains a mystery,
and I’m still clutching the I. But there are things dissolving:
Times of crisis demand my relinquishing.
I feel vulnerable in this question,
and grateful for this Sanctuary.

I’m afraid to let go of the memory of before Covid19.
The memory of being together in close proximity
and the magic of what happens between people
when we’re physically together.
I’m not sure who I’d be if I really let go of that.
Remembering humanness—so much of that is related to physical touch.

What I’m most afraid to let go of is
a sense of meaning and purpose,
a sense that this life matters.
Letting go of that, I would let go of this life,
not wanting to continue.
With that, some curiosity, if there’s anything beyond this lifetime
that would give me that sense of purpose and meaning?

I’m already moved; much resonates.
I’m most afraid to let go of my sensitive soul.
Sensing, touch, relationship—all our multiple senses:
so essential, the feeling of it!
Also, sense-making, purpose and meaning:
I have to believe there is Goodness and Beauty and Truth!
It’s all the same, deep question:
what is the soul?
The ‘I’ is not this body, the ‘I’ is relational.
Without the possibility to love, to touch,
I would rather not remain.

I’m afraid to let go of the sense of home;
What that means and what it has meant and what will it mean?
Living in an isolated place with a child for the last 10 years…
What does that mean going forward in an even more isolated world?
Would it kill me to stay?
Would it kill me to go?
What is the right way to exist? There is fear around this.

I have long seen what was coming,
have been letting go for years.
Letting go of my young grandchildren.
I have no particular identity,
I and others are going into the great mystery
which has no qualities other than flow.
I expect to dissolve into that.
I notice I have attachment to an end to suffering.
There’s a difference between being without attachment and being detached.
Sometimes, as I sit silent among the trees, I let go.
Even ‘I am’ is too much.
It isn’t a going or a giving up; it’s a dissolving.

The pain of crossing parts of myself off a list.
Remaining are two words that speak to me.
Yesterday was my birthday, the occasion to reflect on the decade past:
so many expectations on my bucket list didn’t happen,
but some unimaginable things came into my life:
pain, suffering, depth, joy, peace.
Relinquishing expectations of how this world should be—
letting go of being a doing,
to become a being.

I am a daughter.
That remains.
So much I love fell away, but the role in which I struggle most, remains.
This lock-down has been a cocoon, full of choice.
I’m resisting leaving this cocoon, this attachment to a hermit’s life
when perhaps I could be a butterfly.

I am waiting, I am wondering, I am wishing…
I know, and I hope, I am loved.
I am impatient!
I have an incessant need to stay current around the pandemic,
for my self, for this place where I am, for my family far away…
It’s hooked me. What would I be if I let go?
Less anxious and more peaceful.
And yet knowledge is power.
Uninformed and powerless, versus peaceful and calm.
I still remember that I am loved.

I’ve been absorbing all that has gone into the crucible.
It’s shifting my response to the question;
alchemising me.

Picking up the piece with the same question
twice in one day… Go dig underneath!
I’m afraid of totally, unconditionally loving—
all the loss and pain, joy, beauty, freedom.
The power of sitting with this circle, not alone.
Underneath that, the fear of being unconditionally loved!
Attachment not out of need, but out of love.
Dissolution in the power of love… death brings no end to that.
The fear of giving up the deep silence of spaciousness,
the goodness of life that I’ve found there.

My kidneys are cooking!
Forging, firing,
the kidneys hold a seat for fear.
This morning it was “consciousness” that I feared to let go.
This concern to do my part, anxiety at not doing enough.
Dropping deeper into the flow of the Great Mystery,
our journey is longer than one lifetime,
and my guides hold space, and spirit enters.
I live beyond my lifetime, my energy will stream in
as part of the Field.
The energy of dissolution, metamorphosis in the cocoon.
A dream image: a huge field of ice, covered with people;
beneath, 20 blue whales.
I’m afraid to let go of separation!
Lock-down has brought such different experiences;
there’s a safety in the quality of feeling separate,
and yet we are being shown how everything is in connection.
We are born into an energetic where everything is separate.
Without that, I would be connected to everything that is.


Gratitude for bringing our raw material to the circle.
Light shed into unseen corners.
Given what we’ve opened here, energy is now moving,
as we move out.

Introducing the alchemical practice of abetting.
Stay with the fire. Don’t back off, repress or deny.
Lean in and move with, rather than resisting,
as we cloak our tenderness, wrap our wings around ourselves
and move out into the spaces that await us, each in our own lives.
Abetting calcination means this: I do not blame myself, I do not blame others.
I seek no explanation for misfortune; I tell no stories about my pain.

This work on ourselves is also work on behalf of the collective;
It deepens our compassion for all our relations,
weaving the Via Positiva and the Via Negativa.

How are we experiencing this practice?

Cleansing, Painful, Intensifying, Longing,
Refreshing, Alchemica,l Always unexpected, Movement,
Gratitude, Exhausting, Essential, Smoothly stitched together.
Yoga-off-the-mat. Colourful, Surfaced, Nourishing,
Connection within the storm, Dissolving, Kindness & Care, Medicine,
Catalytic, Ripples in a lake, Transformative,
Forging ground that’s melting the ice ,
Deeply questioning, Mellow,
Community, Commonality, Humanity,

The I that remains has been shaken awake.

Who showed up:
Ineke Hulselmans, Hugo MacPherson, Marina Lynch, Caroline Rennie, Daniela Tablado, Mona Raubertochter, Anna Brunain, Jessica Srikantia, Ursula Hillbrand, Marie-José d’Aprile, Melinda Varfi, Anne Billen, Clare Langan, Judy Wallace, Louise Carpenter, Patricia Hunt Perry, Madeleine Schwab, An van Damme, Steve Ryman, Inna Chilik, Lynda Griebenow, Madeline Snow, Molly Whiteley, Sarah Whiteley, Luea Ritter, Helen Titchen Beeth

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Invitation Page

Invitation to Practice

Invitation to practice Collective Alchemy, 22 May

  WHAT ARE YOU MOST AFRAID TO LET GO OF AND WHO WOULD YOU BE IF YOU DID?   To practice Collective Alchemy is to walk a dual path:   The Via NegativaThe alchemical procedure is broken down into a variety of different phases, which differs according to which of the ancient alchemists you study. What all the different schools have in common is the process of burning away the impure, so that only what

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