Harvest of Collective Alchemy Practice Circles—23 October 2020

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


The practice of the co-sensing team for each portal wave these days (our practice is continually evolving) is to refer to the spirit-level card (one of the 22 Major Arcana cards) that corresponds with how many waves there have been since we started the Portal Days—in this case, 15— as the signature energy of the portal wave in question. We also draw three cards to guide us in how we navigate the wave: Focus; Advice; Most Benevolent Outcome.

For this Portal Day, after some very intensive work by the co-sensing team (Marie-José, Sam, Hugo, Sarah & Helen), what emerged to be placed in the middle of our practice circle was the Tarot cards themselves. Our sense of the why of this is that the cards hold archetypal power. The human relationship with archetypes springs from a more ancient part of our consciousness that is less entrammelled in our mental-rational thinking than is our every-day mindset—and hence leaning into the archetypal realm together can support the quickening of Integral Consciousness in us as practitioners.

Hugo related the co-sensing journey that led to the decision to let the cards speak through us:

The intensity of the archetypes
as they hold you in a space where
what you (think you) know is immaterial
to what is coming up.
Spending good hours, as 5 human beings,
opening the field for these cards…
when you look very hard at something,
you end up moving beyond yourself—
your frames for understanding what your eyes are taking in
are lost.
The images kept coming,
the process quickened:
exhausting, disorienting, unbounded…
until we capitulated,
renouncing efforts to contain the cards,
allowing them instead to hold us.
Now we come together as alchemists,
to seek to channel the feelings that emerge
as we place these cards in the centre
of our alchemical practice.
The cards have even quickened their own process
of throwing out meaning.
The cauldron is bubbling frantically.
Let us together hold out our cups to catch
the splashing potion, mindful
that if the cauldron boils over,
it will extinguish the fire.
Thank God you are all here!
Together we are allies as we sit with these cards,
in this archetypal journey.
We have so much to learn, once we realise
that what we know no longer makes a difference.
Letting the archetypes reveal themselves
through the cards, we find ourselves together, now,
bathing in mystery.

Introducing the cards:

15 – The Guardian

The Guardian is the overlighting energy of this cycle.
We are faced with an energy, a guardian at the threshold of the portal.
This is the path to take—there is no way around.
We meet this being: a mirror, a sentinel, inviting us to face
the essence of that which we most fear;
and offering us an opportunity.
There is a benevolence in this Guardian.

The Hawk (Knight of Arrows)
The signature energy of the invitation.
The high hover, zoom-out, wide-angle perspective
coupled with the ability to dive cleanly for its prey.
The movement between high-hover and focus.

13—The Journey
Our advice—another winged one.
Death, in other decks.
Death is death. Fundamental transformation.
A clarion call of right timing;
and essential bidding to release that which no longer serves.

6 of Arrows—Transition
Our Most Benevolent Outcome.
Arrows denote the mental plane;
they were the predominant energy also
in our previous portal day.
And there has been a shift in our sensing:
from thought-forms into the archetypal energies.
A hooded figure standing at the prow of a vessel
with no helmsman.
The boat is moved by the winds of change,
guided by the light of the full moon.
The confluence of arrows on the sail was evocative.

Through the presence of 13 and 15 in our readings for this wave,
the trajectory of past into future emerged into our sensing,
bringing in 14 and 16 to complete an arc.
Balance was our signature energy last time:
Balance (Temperance in other tarot decks)
also represents the Alchemist.
Here we see the healing Caduceus of Hermes,
the Albedo (white), Rubedo (red) and Nigredo (black) of the alchemical process.
We are invited to live in the balance of polarity
and dark, masculine and feminine, head and heart—
rather than the constant misalignments of duality
or bad, right or wrong) that plague the rational mind.

16—The Blasted Oak
has begun to vibrate in anticipation of its turn next time:
what lies beyond the Guardian.
During these weeks, we are in a transit
of deep significance—this is the first time
our attention is brought to linking three portals across time,
by the strong vibration of the cards,
each bringing its own influence, meaning and bidding to bear.

We are invited into the archetypal energy of all these cards together
—the trajectory through time, and the focus in the present—
moving beyond what we think they are
to live into them in real time.

Some guiding principles for archetypal seeing

  • The essence of the archetypes is their almost limitless meaning
  • Source from the present (a core practice of Collective Alchemy)
  • Keep it close (avoid grand abstractions, stay within the purview of the body)


What can I say about the dragons? I am pulled from both places.
The ‘mainstream’ is pulling on one side and
the new/ancient way – the sacred eternal way of becoming the new –
is pulling on the other.
Seeing the dragons entwining a birch tree
brought tears. An affirmation: I belong on Earth.
The structure is churning and turning:
throwing out from my mouth, I can throw out too much.
The churning can remove poison.
What is the fear?

The Guardian
a guardian should guard or protect something,
but this card scares me.
What do I fear? What do we all fear?
Returning to the essence:
We are scared of being wrong when we discover
that in finding the essence, we can no longer pretend otherwise.
I am learning now to become a Guardian to myself.
How can I reflect on all that is happening in my life
and find clarity about what to let in, what to let go, what to let through?
There is a lot that the guardian asks of us:
“Really be willing to see your stuff and what does not work”
There is a system that has to die—is in the throes of dying.
But some of us keep trying to prop it up because
“it is scary to let everything we know go”.
This is a crucial time.
Something is truly coming forward, seeking to be born.
The Guardian is affirmative and comforting despite looking challenging.
The figure’s skull is not human; we are not alone.
There are huge number of helpers here with us that we cannot see.
How can we consciously allow ourselves to change?
What do we most fear? Maybe the loss of consciousness or awareness?
Can I hand that fear over to the Guardian?
What is behind the Guardian?
There’s a way through—it’s inviting me.
The guardian is uncompromising but kind:
we are going to go through it no matter what.
Let’s hold on and let go at the same time.
Exploring the scene with my senses,
I smell humus: the earth that we eventually become,
that becomes the food for new life.

The Blasted Oak
I am on transformational journey with lots of things happening.
It shakes my tree and I don’t know yet if I’ll fall out—and I might.
The journey I am on right now might completely change me.
I might have to let go of myself.
What to keep and what to throw away?
If I don’t find out then everything will be shaken from the tree…
and then what?
If things need to come to ground then they will.
The lightning strike into the Oak.
Falling and Re-earthing.
Diminishing what we believe.
It’s the fool (falling from the tree).
The Blasted Oak has the energy of both the ‘tower’ and the ‘hanged man’.
It is a cataclysmic bolt out of the blue,
what does not serve any more comes to ground.
This smashing golden energy releases us and powers us even as we fall.

The Knight of Arrows – Hawk
Learning to keep focus:
the hawk is not an owl – so the focus is not to drift away.
We are thinking for ourselves.
Hawk. Longing for prey – sinking the claws in.
Surveying. Preparing the spirit.
Did anybody else notice the hawk’s suspicious eyes?
If we are not afraid of what is outside us,
then we are scared of what’s within.
How can we hold on and let go again?
Mesmerised by the US election debate…
If I step away like the hawk, I can see there is no winner or loser here.
The picture reminds me of a kestrel.
It’s a delight to recognise this:
I have loving relationship with the kestrel spirit guide
which allows the brain to relax, allows effort to know to cease.
I see the presence of Honourable Authority.
Hawks: the higher they go, the more they see.
I went down with this hawk to see what it was hunting.
The hawk took me into the circle this morning
in the middle of my night – a place I did not expect to be.
But that’s what the hawk was showing me!
I was the Hawk until a moment ago.
Hungry for my prey. Claws ready, beak ready.
I had the faculties to seek what I needed.
Now I am exhausted.

The Journey
The raven is pulling at the dead flesh of my own worn-out identity,
old habit and patterns and thought forms that tell me OUCH – struck by an arrow.
For me, the abetting move is what the raven is doing: “Out with you!” and unsticking it.
It’s like becoming clean bone.
Invited by the guardian to lean into what frightens me and keeping at it until I find the root.
Edging closer. Finding the tip of the arrow and going beneath it…
going back in time to the moment of the trauma and then before,
which is where the trauma can be unmade and cleaned out.
It requires a willingness to be with discomfort,
intensity, pain and those reactions which flood us.
I could be in front of a fire with fluffy slippers and a purring cat
but I could still be overtaken by my emotions!
Being willing now to acknowledge that I am safe
and that all those things which I have constructed as a story about who I am
are empty.
I can journey with whoever is on the road with me – it doesn’t matter.
I did all this work to get my stuff cleaned out
to be able to feel safe for myself and for others.
Death is always there with us – a raven is here as a pet in our house!
The left eye is missing so we know it is him/her!
He has a friend too – they are called Bo and Co.
I realise I am afraid of death.
My son, facing the death of a babysitter when he was young, said:
“mum you don’t know how to talk about death.”
I realise children have a knowledge that they have not learned.
There’s a lot of dying going on systemically.
In the long run that’s a good thing.
There are no winners or losers.
The sinew is pulled out and the skull is grimacing.
Are the antlers coming off? Is it
all being deconstructed?
I have been pulling sinews away from the skull in my life.
I had a mini meltdown this afternoon which connected me to a very very old wound.
I am throwing it in the cosmic waste disposal unit!
This is not who I am and it never has been.
The raven picking things apart. This is a direct message.
The sinew, connected to the crown.
The pull and the tug – this is what is anchoring the spread.
I felt an opening in my crown: an antenna is emerging.

Six of Arrows – Transition
The hooded figure: man or woman? Like an angel.
No helmsman at the tiller.
Boatman on the river Styx, carrying souls across.
I cannot live my daily life in the country where I am,
I cannot go to my family in the country where they are.
I cannot get on with my life – do I agree with this?
I am limited in my movement. It is an uncomfortable place to be.
Standing on the swan cannot be too bad!
The wind is powering this vessel…
there is beauty here with a lot of trustable things.
The full moon is guiding.
My heart pumping fast and hard.
How remarkable that the 6 of arrows was left untouched in my story.
Others talking about the card itself makes me nervous! Stay with it!
Being willing to be uncomfortable.
I feel nourished with how this awakens the trust I have within myself.
A lot of emptiness tears sadness but also trust – in and for myself.
If what we know doesn’t make a difference,
we have so much to learn.
No one at the tiller.
I am frustrated at this lockdown jail:
the expanded radius of movement is just a token.
Arbitrary decision making and fear-mongering:
“if we just do the right thing then everyone will be OK”.
This card is full of beauty.
Sun and the full moon, shedding light on darkness.
A path of light cast by the moon but the sun is there too.
The swan is a symbol of trust and being carried.
Billowing golden sail. Six arrows point in six directions:
all polarities are held there.
Trusting love maybe carrying us onward.
The ocean has thrown everything out.
To see what is really there—to get on that boat—I have to lose everything.
And the boat is guided by higher forces.
The swan is indelicate when it walks on land,
but as soon as it gets in the water, its grace is perfection.
Our lives are indelicate at this point on this earth—can we find our water?
This sail is a floodlit gold plate,
powering the boat forward.
We are weaving a new cloth and tapestry of interbeing (not separation).
What are the other threads that need to be pulled out?
Weaving, reweaving and pulling out the threads.

Our seeing & sensing at the level of the spreads
“Pilgrim, there is no path, the path is made by walking” said Antonio Machado.
The more I immerse myself in the cards,
the more I feel the flow between the hawk, the raven and the 6 of arrows.
What I notice today: there is a bird in all three of them – the vessel is a swan!
We are really able to walk this path.

I am finding so much joy in the care I am feeling from this gathering.
The density of emotions I am feeling is shared by others!
The cards speak to me so openly because for 9 months
I have been in a state of calmness and deep pause.
But the last weeks – the opposite – a lot of new things have come into my life.
Things from the past have been coming up too:
putting me into moments where I wasn’t wholly centred.
The last month was a search for the balance – between balance and stillness.
The theme of death and life is there.
I went to spend the day in the forest sunrise to sunset.
My question was how do I centre myself
and get rid of all the noise and abstractions which are no longer supporting me?
In the woods for 12 hours, I saw beautiful cycle and dance between life and death.
Even after our death we are a source of life – this transition.

Thanks to all of you have spoken and to those who have kept silence.
Each time someone spoke, I got anxious and sad.
When U. spoke, my body sighed and relaxed.
I needed the whole process to stay with my uncomfortable feeling.
I started my contemplation of the cards with the eyes of the Guardian
and I came into fight mode!
Then I pulled to the eyes of the hawk and the raven.
Piercing through inviting me to look deeper,
which brought me to the overall spread of the 6 cards.
Emptiness and sadness surrendered to the not knowing…
and then came softness and rest and neutrality.
But then the face on Balance – a rock?/piece of wood? – asked me:
“what really matters to you?”
That pulled me to the Blasted Oak: I actually want to fall out of the tree and be back on the ground.
When I went into the cards, I felt the pain of giving up and abandoning.

The archetypes have been there a long time.
The cards remind me of the past, present, future and the myth of timing.
Even if we don’t pull the cards, they are there to inform us!
They are always there – the information they carry is always there.
Every time we look, we will discover something different.
A different detail catches my attention.
I’m bit scared of the cards – or did we make them scary?

When all speak from the heart so, I forget
that there are edges between us
as we drop into that shared state of being.
We work with our perceptions and our thoughts forms in a different way.
We do not compete here nor do we score points.
A whole new way of using the mind.
We are stepping onto the Via Creativa,
and we don’t even know what that means.

Ineke’s painting made my heart pound!

I was looking at the cards with my brain.
I really wanted to wait and to let them sink in.
If you look with your brain then it is just stories…
they are a comforting go-to survival mechanism.
But when I went inside, first there was not a lot of “invoke”.
Now after these two hours, they invoked a lot more.
I saw darkness – but the hawk is not dark and nor is the moon.
The abyss is my biggest fear – we come back to the guardian.
Is he scary and hollow? It could be anyone – could it be me?
I am my own guardian, standing in the way of my abyss (which I fear).
It feels like rootedness, like something that has happened to me.
The nothingness – I can’t unthink anything in my life.
How do I break the chains of my personal situation?
If I could, I would drop everything.
This is strengthened by the chains of the world. This my whole adult life.
In my triad I have had to look at the emptiness – but I have been filling that up.
Now the cards remind me – the Blasted Oak – that I need to go back there:
to the darkness, nothingness, emptiness.
I am drawn to that right now. It is the unknowing.

Jenny’s picture suffocated me!

There seems to be a veil across the spread, unifying all the cards.
Coming between the cards and me.
I see orange light in all the cards – a fire.
Fire needs to melt what needs to go out.
I feel fire at the moment – do I need to hold it in or let it go?
The cards are mixing again – changing energies.
I cannot fix my attention on them: I feel sick.
Something is speeding up and spinning, new gate, a new vortex.
I am present to the blue god who took poison to save humanity.
A kaleidoscope of colours moving, a new reality.
We are sitting around the cauldron, catching the spillage.
The beauty comes through these cards.
I could not watch the presidential debate – there is no beauty there.
With nothing to fear. I have been losing so much.
I had to lose everything to see what was truly there.
Falling in love with darkness.
Deep gratitude that that choice is the highest expression of love.

Our invitation was a harvest of the journey of the co-sensing circle.
There is a magic carpet threaded with insight and information.
Strong attention on the arc 13, 14, 15, 16:
there has been implicit naming that each portal day has a signature.
Just as a wave or a rainbow have strands which hold energy streams:
these four cards are the most illuminated.
After the blasted Oak…we have permission to blow everything open
in terms of how we host this work.
Permission is in the centre!
Card 17 is the pole star – we are following a singular direction.

Who showed up

An Van Damme, Jenny Hegland, Wini Condic Begov, Daniela Tablado, Inna Chilik, Pieter De Ceuninck, Brigitte Kupfer, Ineke Hulselmans, Ellen Dekoodt, Ursula Hillbrand, Diana Claire Douglas, Darya Gerasimenko, Aakanksha Singh, Judy Wallace, Patricia Hunt Perry, Madeleine Schwab, Louise Carpenter, Marie-José d’Aprile, Hugo MacPherson, Sarah Whiteley, Helen Titchen Beeth.

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Invitation Page

Invitation to Practice

Our invitation to practice Collective Alchemy continues 23 October 2020

HOW CAN ARCHETYPAL SEEING SUPPORT OUR JOURNEY THROUGH THE ERA SHIFT? As the Era Shift deepens and complexifies, so does our Collective Alchemy practice. On our 15th portal day, we invite you to lean in with us and explore where our practice wants to take us. Orienting the next Portal Day calls on the arc of the journey so far: With the closing of our harvesting cycle, we sense ourselves in a liminal space of

Read More »


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