We invite you to join us in an Alchemical Hang-out💫
The Hang-out is changing as our practice shifts gear.
Dear fellow Alchemists!
This invitation breaks the mould of our usual Hang-out announcement. It contains some important framing (which will end up as a blog post in our ‘About Collective Alchemy’ section), so part of the invitation is to read this invitation carefully!
A foreword: Specifying the ‘we’: In this text, the word ‘we’ stands for Sarah and Helen unless otherwise specified!
Unpacking the ‘fire cycle’
The practice field of Collective Alchemy is in constant motion—ever morphing and shifting, in response, we feel, to the ever regenerating potential that is present in the wider field that the practice is serving, and also to our own growing capacities as practitioners.
Accordingly, we (the regular practitioners who have been ‘meta-sensing’ behind the scenes—Louise, Molly, Marie-José and Pieter, together with Sarah and Helen) are discerning more clearly the shift of our practice rhythm into what we have been calling ‘the fire cycle’. Thus far, we had seen that Portal Days would alternate with ‘hang-outs’ in the regular twice-monthly drum beat of our open calls, for the purpose of allowing the fire to die back and then re-stoking it. Until now, alchemical hang-outs have been occasional moments when we have needed a respite from the intense and sometimes gruelling concatenation of portal days every two weeks, with co-sensing in between. A hang-out gave us a break without depriving the field of a regular opportunity to gather in practice.
Now, however, we are seeing that the nature of what we have been calling the hang-out is changing, as our practice shifts gear.
The role of sensing and meaning-making in Collective Alchemy
“We are animals suspended in webs of meaning that we ourselves have spun” (Clifford Geertz)
Looking back on the harvest of almost two-years of intense and systematic collective practice we can see that an important aspect of what we (every person who has participated in Collective Alchemy practice) have been engaged in is a form of deep, intentional meaning-weaving. Our harvest turns out to be a rich and complex, multidimensional tapestry that will speak differently to each person who engages with it, redolent with multivalent, archetypal imagery and metaphor.
These webs of meaning are psychoactive: they are an important element of the alchemical fire that transforms us into fitter vessels for a higher-frequency future to enter through. Understanding that we are spinning and weaving webs of meaning, it behooves us to begin to work with them more intentionally, to see where that brings us.
The strands of imagery that we work with as alchemists are sourced and spun out from the present moment through our collective sensing practice. Remembering that the core purpose of Collective Alchemy, since the beginning, has been “to prepare awakening humans to step into co-creative, transformative, generative (r)evolution with all life”; in essence, when we (practitioners) come together as a collective, we are invited, as representatives of humanity, to sense into the field of the field of humanity at this moment. We are connected to that field through our own unique context and culture, but also through our biology and our relationship with Earth and Cosmos, whether we’re conscious of it or not. All we have to do is articulate or make visible what we are given to sense, to place it in the centre so we can all see it.
From now on, the “hang out” phase of the fire cycle (and that name might well change!) will be the time and the place where we do this together explicitly. To some extent, this is the moment for a reality check—we’re tasting the stew. We are sourcing through the question of “what is real and true at this moment in the field of humanity?” What we identify together as having the strongest resonance from what is sourced is then spoken into the centre in the check-out, and carried forward into the co-sensing process, which is taken up by volunteer practitioners in the interval before the next Portal Day. Running and playing with these threads of imagery and meaning, the co-sensors spin out a question and a supportive frame so that, when we come together on portal day, we can work more intentionally with the constellation of meaning that has offered itself to us to play with: if this is the web of meaning that we’re hanging in, what does that do to us? What are the implications of that?
This is most likely where the alchemy will come in, for each of us as individuals, and through us then rippling out into the world beyond… because part of our problem as humanity at the moment is our relationship to our sense-making and meaning-making. We (humanity) are for the most part living inside a deadening script we’ve been given—as if it were reality, when all the while we have the potential to be continually crafting and creatively generating our own scripts, collectively, and living them into reality!
Working intentionally with meaning is in itself very alchemical. It starts with recognising the meanings we’re already giving to things, and how, when we do it unconsciously and unquestioningly through habituated patterns, those meanings then affect us in ways that we experience as beyond our control, spiralling us ever deeper into the gravity well of victimhood and business-as-usual.
Working with the fire cycles in this way is an experiment in embarking together on the Via Creativa. What else is possible? We don’t see this as a major departure from our practice as it has been emerging so far, just a more refined articulation of the patterns unfolding in the field.
The role of the harvest
Our journey of Collective Alchemy over time looks a little like a trail through a marsh, left behind after a group has passed through, where there was no trail before. The trajectory of the trail is determined by taking ‘soundings’ to find where the ground is firm enough for our feet (our co-sensed sourcing from the present moment). The meandering trail itself is woven from the threads of meaning that travel from one gathering to the next, over time. There is a rich and complex travelogue full of beauty, variety and wisdom for those who revisit the harvests (all available in the harvest blog on the website). If you would like a pdf compilation of the text of all the invitations and harvests, please ask Helen!
We will be moving into some meta-meaning weaving with this body of work in coming months, for those with an appetite for such things. Ask Helen if you’re interested in participating.