WITNESSING ‘WHAT IS‘ IN THESE MOMENTS, CLOSE UP AND IN THE DEPTHS,
WHAT DO WE SENSE IS PRESENT?
WHAT RESPONSE IS CALLED FORTH IN US?
We are in a time of deep change in our world.
The call of this practice is to be in service of the Era Shift.
We are in wave 16 of our Portal Day series.
In the Major Arkana of the Celtic Wildwood Tarot,
the archetypal signature of this wave is carried by the Blasted Oak—
The shock wave, the lightning strike of change, igniting out of the blue,
which knocks us out of our sense of stability and connection,
spilling us down into the unknown.
This card denotes those times
when everything that no longer serves is brought to ground,
whether we have relinquished it or not.
Moreover, we are tipped into a 180° shift of perspective,
from where we can see things we perhaps never noticed before,
as the uncomputable ‘unknown unknowns’ surge up and invest our reality.
Also liberated, as the obsolete structures and energies are blasted away,
is the power of the raw life force coursing through us.
All our senses come on line and our perceptions align—at last—
with what is actually happening around us.
What has been most present this week in the co-sensing space
has been a powerful—sometimes ominous—silence.
We recognise it as the silence before the storm:
That eery moment when the waterline is drawn away from the shore,
sucked up into the gathering tsunami far out at sea.
In such moments, the indigenous sensors (human and non-human)
recognise what is happening and move to higher ground,
while the ‘tourists’—if they notice anything—stand gaping,
or reaching for their phones.
We sense that now is a time not for action,
but for stillness and witnessing.
This is not passivity: it is an active stance,
a refraining from escapist busyness and distracting ‘make work’,
to bring all our sensing to bear on what is actually present.
It acknowledges that the more we think we know what’s going on,
the less we pay attention to what is actually happening.
We are invited into the still nexus point where we can source from the present,
and urged to keep it close, applying our collectively gleaned insights
to the intimate life sphere in which we are sovereign:
the moment-by-moment unfolding of our daily lives.
These two movements allow us to align our energies with the universal lore,
so that our arrows of intent can fly true.
Witnessing is a foundational practice of Collective Alchemy.
In essence, it is the simple act of resting
one’s naked attention on a phenomenon
without judgement, but with a simple intention to bear witness.
Witnessing begins with acknowledging what is
(individual and collective pain and suffering and ugliness included).
Witnessing in this way builds our capacity
to keep our hearts open for great intensity
without falling back into habitual patterns
of withdrawal, denial or conceptualisation.
Remembering that humanity is facing an initiatory rite of passage,
we can recognise that, while all initiations entail suffering,
not all suffering opens into initiation.
Initiation can only happen in strongly-held containers.
Perhaps part of what Collective Alchemy practice can offer the world
is a learning to collectively hold the extreme pain and intensity
of birthing a new society where all life can thrive.
WITNESSING ‘WHAT IS‘ IN THESE MOMENTS, CLOSE UP AND IN THE DEPTHS,
WHAT DO WE SENSE IS PRESENT?
WHAT RESPONSE IS CALLED FORTH IN US?
Up close: Turbulence. Death in the family.
Distress. The children have been uncharacteristically
unkind and hurtful to each other.
In the depth, I’m in touch with something still, quiet, solid.
A new experience.
The calm before the storm.
I am called to stay still, stay calm.
Tired. I just want to rest.
Fallen on the ground, I am called to rest,
to stay with this tired feeling, it’s OK to rest.
What do we sense is present?
A comforting blanket over my shoulders,
extending to others.
My chest expanded, straightening in the neck
giving space, clarity, oxygen.
Hearing my heart beating in my ears.
The calling is to be compact.
Simplicity, clear, organised, powerful short-range but impactful.
My task is just to touch the one next to me.
With this intension to cause a local positive ripple,
I don’t need to know who is standing next to me.
Grateful for the silence.
I so rarely sit without distraction.
I’ve had time to be with myself this week.
I notice a fluid mass in my solar plexus—
it used to be a stone, now it’s moving.
I can feel the warmth when I breathe.
It’s comforting. When I go soft, I feel more free.
The Blasted Oak, the chains – if I resist, I get more stuck.
What is calling me is the freedom to choose!
It’s so powerful, I’m so grateful!
The power to choose whatever I need to from within.
I wish to remain present, witnessing.
This question comes at the right time.
It’s so beautiful to realise that I can choose!
It can spill over easily, and I have to trust that it will.
So many layers!
What’s present is EVERYTHING!
What draws my attention?
A lot of energy moving and not moving.
I look to my body for signals—
anxiety? Incompleteness of an energy
living in my body. Is it mine? I am not separate…
I keep trying to discard it, but it’s so huge!
Thank goodness I feel it: it means I’m connected.
What is that? Making meaning can be obsessive:
What is that?
Incompleteness of cycles of energy, stuck.
We have lost our collective ability to move it through,
so it comes through me. More and more, again and again.
My response? Proximity.
(in times of pandemic)
“nearness of space, time or relationship.”
What am I actually close enough to
to be sensing with clarity?
I don’t know the answer to that,
but the intention to be in proximity with,
and the wisdom to know I cannot sense without it.
And there are things that aren’t mine to be close to.
How do I discern that?
What to move towards?
Sensing: I received a gift in the silence.
I real-ised a connection up to the end of the Universe,
some place far away that then wasn’t far any more.
A whiter hole in the sky.
The Blasted Oak, inverted: not falling into a chasm in the earth,
but jumping into the hole in the sky.
Accompanied by a pulsing vagina—the source of the raw life force
making the connection so real.
What are the organs we need to go through all this?
Proximity: “We’ll be back” (a note from our neighbours ‘the artists’)
became life-sized statues of the authentic feminine
now sitting in our closed Brasserie,
super cabaret style.
Every time I close my eyes,
an upwelling of tears from the heart.
Un-named signature emotion: grief, loss, relinquishing.
A memory of when I led my first rock climb.
Ascending first, preparing the way.
Body trembling with the knowing of falling.
Terror, if all the safety pitons unzip?
I had no other choice: it was safer to let go than to hold on.
That rush of energy is with me now—in what we’re in.
Proximity seems to be relative:
the news of the Samos earthquake
came to me from India.
The connections we have at the deepest level
are nodes that share in-formation.
We pick up what we pick up, and we pass on what we pass on.
Allowing the waves to move through
is part of our task and our calling.
Awake in the night, the holding, the tension,
the fine razor’s-edge decision making.
We have to go to the depths and touch the bedrock
to then push off into the new.
Yet to fall into that place
requires us to be at our most vulnerable.
A movement of rocking.
Back and forth; sideways; in circles.
I felt something dropping inside.
Some pain as it enters,
then spaciousness where something can rest in the belly.
Like a pebble tied to a string,
passing through the surface of the water,
all the way through to the bottom.
the stone, the string, the water around were in one movement:
the in and out of my breath.
Extreme joy and extreme sadness cohabit inside me.
Intense and present.
The joy of daily life: every day I feel happier
Every day I feel sadder abut what’s going on in the world.
This co-existence puzzles me:
how is it possible?
I live in the countryside where everything is so beautiful,
and I witness the ugliness in the world.
My response? Freedom and friendship!
Freedom to turn to each other,
to nourish our links. Becoming powerful together
through our connection and friendship.
Heaviness: I had to lie down.
Looking at all of you.
a burst of energy, and tiredness, a need to rest.
Some sense of shame in needing to rest…
Are we all suffering from this inability to rest?
We keep doing and doing. Maybe that’s the pain in my heart:
Needing to rest brings shame.
I’m allowing that part of me to be present.
Hopefully we can all lean into it and be embraced.
The innocent baby within me
calls me to tend to my tenderness.
Not just my tenderness… together tending to tenderness
Nothing left to hold onto.
Is it really all going down?
It starts with me:
every story i have ever told about myself
is too small.
I am multidimensional.
Utterly sovereign, and utterly interdependent
with All That Is.
That shows up in daily life as
a core of stillness
shot through with spasms of fear:
a shared, assumed reality of
smallness, constriction and prohibition,
scarcity, egotism, venality.
What happens when I witness that LIE?
What is true of me
Is true of you; is true of us all.
Living in the country,
My tiny house shivers in the wind.
Now everything is STILL:
every blade of grass.
I have the feeling
part of humanity is hypnotized,
no longer feeling its own pain,
unable to connect to self.
Following an object of fear,
sacrificing all that is dear.
How to respond?
I can barely witness what is happening,
the voice of judgement is ready to step in.
All I feel we can do is to grieve
for all the suffering and pain covered
by that hypnotic blanket;
to weep those tears that would otherwise remain unwept,
so those abandoned feelings and emotions
can find a way to be lived.
If I close my eyes, the tears rise up.
Perhaps we are hitting the depths at the bottom of the U—
I hope we soon rise.
Today I have felt myself
sinking in the ocean.
Heavy. Dropping down.
Looking up to the surface, I see light, movement.
What is happening?
Witnessing life, I felt content. Just looking up from the bottom.
I have had a day of allowance – biking, swimming, Japanese meal, massage!
Passing the baker: invite the neighbour.
Bridging: we are in it together.
Today, I let it all go!
Proximity and my neighbour.
Everything is always here, with us.
The connection between the top and the bottom.
Back in this circle after a month,
at my grandmother’s place. The one constant in my life
brings me to rootedness, groundedness.
Being with what is. Working in the garden,
making a fire, roasting chestnuts, watching TV.
I need this rootedness: I have to take care of it
in order not to lose my mind.
Tending the bottom to deal with the top.
At the top, I can feel alone in my mind.
In these calls, at my grandma’s,
I’m connected to a wider field,
where every action I take has the potential
to influence the top.
We can create new roots to ground,
this circle is one of them.
Thoughts disturbed my silence.
I witnessed the waves on the lake.
Where are they going?
I felt grounded by the movement:
But what is the container?
Movement, container; container, movement.
Present despite the waves.
Grounded in the depths of the ocean,
I am revisited by a dream:
joined by a whale in the amniotic depths of the ocean.
All I could see was her huge eye – so close!
Carrying the memory of the world,
carrying the Earth on her back.
My only response: deep trust in stillness.
(A word of contextualisation to visitors from the future reading this post:
this call took place just after the 2020 US presidential election
when the outcome was still unclear—the 2nd call was attended by many in North America.
Another difference from the morning call: Louise offered a sound weaving with
her singing bowls during the silence.)
Looking at the map of my country,
seeing the blue and the red.
Punched in the stomach.
How do you talk to your children about this?
“You’re witnessing history.”
I often tend to withdraw from things like this,
but this time I decided to bear witness without going crazy!
The purity of the sound is so transforming,
unlike the chattering of noise—this week I turned it off!
Witnessing and listening to each other as Americans
going through disruption and turmoil.
A deeper reckoning—an awakening.
“Good news: Biden is ahead”
And SO WHAT?!
I am witnessing the trauma that’s in the whole country,
that Trump embodies in all of us and has awakened us to.
That’s not going away!
We are starting to accept that. No longer looking the other way.
No one is coming to fix this: it’s up to us…
and that’s not easy: to see what we’ve never wanted to see.
Our greatness built on oppression, white supremacy, enslavement of Africans.
And so it continues.
It matters not who leads—this is what we’re in.
It’s systemic. World-wide.
It all came across the Atlantic,
from what was being perpetrated in the name of ‘something’,
before we ever got here.
Something deeper is happening.
We can do something more, if we come together, sense, know, feel:
what might that be?
A world where everyone matters, where everyone belongs
on the planet herself.
We can’t fool ourselves any more: it’s time to wake up.
I find myself in a place of deep peace, with a beating heart.
A real perceiving of the matrix of life,
my gaze a beam of focus that directs energy
towards my locus of attention.
The spinning planet precluding thought:
holding to the surface of the Earth,
a deep love, gratitude, appreciation
for the beauty and thriving creativity,
abundance and generative power of the planet.
It stirs in me a really strong recognition and sense of personal responsibility
as to where I place my focus,
and so where the energy flows.
My response—real and present and ongoing in daily life—is calling in community,
and collectives that are coming up from underneath.
Some is small-scale, some is quite international.
Different ways of doing things.
Such a strong desire to participate in that,
acknowledging that real changes must happen within my day-to-day life.
This year, I’m making Christmas presents, not buying them on-line!
Anything I buy will be local, crafted in natural materials,
allowing for those small steps to build into something greater.
I have German ancestry, I’m feeling great fear
about a Trump victory and what could ensue from that.
Tyranny. How does that work? What can we do in response?
Then overcome by feeling calm!
Something drew my attention to my body:
What was I sensing? Why was I calm?
Would Biden win?
“When Mars is in retrograde, aggressors lose.”
What I’m sensing is present is the body:
of the planet, of community, local to global;
On the community level, a groundswell.
We are called to our highest potential, our highest consciousness.
It has already been happening in the voting process.
Both sides united in wanting to count the ballots.
This morning I dreamed a Blasted Oak dream:
a reminder to respect my body, try not to fall!
A reminder to respect the body of the Earth,
the body of each other.
A sacred stillness, respecting the process.
Since 2016, I have practiced listening without responding
when ‘things are being said’.
Hearing, seeing, not responding, within.
It has proved good for my spirit.
I listen to a small amount, and do not respond in body or mind.
This invitation speaks exactly to what I do.
This deep practice of witnessing is the response called from me.
It’s also true (for me)
that I don’t need a response.
No figuring out what to do:
My activist days were back then…
This is a different time.
In the silence, I was surprised:
space, and then a circle counter-clockwise.
I don’t need to know what it means.
That’s the booby prize these days—
we try to grab onto meaning…
I wish to live with things, let them emerge,
without labelling them with my meanings.
I put no one out of my heart.
People’s minds can do what they want,
the heart is what needs to expand.
In the silence, a surprising image
A huge, erect penis. ALIVE!!!
Is it the one I know?
Trump’s? An new organ?
Witnessing toxic masculinity:
comparing penis length…
Learning Ancient Greek at school,
I learned of the phallus cult.
The image was of a very genuine organ;
My relationship to this organ has not been an easy one.
As I learn to be more in my femininity,
I’m sensing a call for the healthy masculine: beautiful, sacred.
Creation is sacred.
Going back to the roots.
Yoni and lingam.
Inhale it: what will it do?
(A crystal lingam enters the circle as talking piece)
The card representing our Most Benevolent Outcome for this wave:
The Cerne Abbas Giant (5 of Bows)
magnificently erect, has been with us throughout.
What does it mean when 11 men show up
in a collective presencing circle
to learn from one woman?
—Let the women hold the wisdom, let the men hold the love.—
“What is it that holds me back, as a man,
from cleaving to the wisdom of the women,
and bringing my love?”
This, too, has happened today.
What is present?
Everything is present.
The present moment is all there is.
All potential for manifestation is here.
I am tired of the dynamic of everybody needing to have a position.
The demand for an opinion. For and against.
Chopping up reality into our little pieces of truth.
What’s being called for is humility, wonder,
Listening in to what more is possible.
I am present to my own reactivity
to people predigesting my experience:
“what we’re going through”.
I want to live in the fertility of the present moment,
with all its possibility,
without trying to work out what’s true
and seek to impose it on others.
My turmoil in the silence:
As soon as you started to speak,
I came present and found my ground.
What does it mean to be present
when everything is spinning around you?
In deep witnessing, you can engage by your mere presence. Without busyness.
From one lock-down to the next, stillness is becoming a way of life.
I don’t know.
Being present allows me to stay in touch with you all,
across the world.
Here is a contradictory truth:
As the tidal wave comes in,
our presence offers it an axis to spin around,
so it can move away again safely.
I welcome the ‘archetypal’ men who dare to come into this field,
where I deeply sense joy and lightness.
My response is to be present to the beauty in front of me.
There has been a tension in my chest all week:
like I was holding my breath.
The sounds and the silence brought a sinking, a calmness
drawing me into the circle.
Letting go of the constriction,
after witnessing so much pain.
Holding onto love and pain:
How do I want to show up?
A poem from my childhood by William Henry Channing
I have the image of a magnet.
If we sprinkle feelings around it,
we start to see the magnetic field.
I am called to witness some sort realigning of natural order.
Connecting globally has been spreading along with the pandemic.
As this corona time continues to elongate,
this connecting is now beginning to take root in local spaces.
CHECK OUT: what magical elixir are you taking with you?
Being in the ocean, with the whales. Looking up from the bottom on the light.
Gratitude and spaciousness.
Air circulating, a lot of tenderness.
Profound gratitude and joy.
Connection: inner to outer, top to bottom
Hugeness, vastness, fluidity. Every story that’s ever been told about me is too small.
Synchronicity, collective wisdom, witnessing, lightness and depth. Liquid silk.
Simplicity and complexity of water.
The power and gift of coming together. The beauty of sharing and hearing.
Scent. Smoke, dust, stories! The unknown road ahead.
Silence, rest, allowing
The inner stillness in me, that’s witnessing the future emerge. The one that really wants to happen.
A love potion. ‘Liebestrank’
I welcome the magic, the working of the elixir, don’t care to put a name on it.
Elixir made up of peace and stillness.
I hesitate to name. I quest for its nature, and listen into the frequencies that show up over the coming days.
An empty vessel.
Silence, concocted from turbulence and calm.
Part pain, part love. To help release tension.
Fertility of the present moment
The peace of this community is my elixir
Affection, living in the field of the heart.
An elixir of truth?
A big pot of magic and colour and joy, worthy of Obelix and Asterix.
Who showed up
Sonal Kothari, Pieter De Ceuninck, Anne-Laure Romanet, Jenny Hegland, An Van Damme, Wini Condic Begov, Suyash Saboo, Daniela Tablado, Ellen Dekoodt, Julia Hoffmann, Anna Brunain, Sonika Gupta, Brigitte Kupfer, Laurie Lynch, Patricia Hunt Perry, Louise Carpenter, Judy Wallace, Madeleine Schwab, Steve Ryman, Marina Lynch, Mansi Jasuja, Marie-José d’Aprile, Aakanksha Singh, Ursula Hillbrand, Sarah Whiteley, Helen Titchen Beeth.