Greetings fellow Alchemists!
Within the on-going journey of our Collective Alchemy practice field, the co-sensing of this wave began with our Friday hangout two weeks ago, and the collection of embers through our check-outs to bring forward into the co-sensing* towards our circle gatherings this Friday. Your co-sensors have been Sarah, Helen, Pieter, Marie-José, Neha and Ursula.
One element of our check-out from the hangout was the quality of “all-over-the-map-ness”—describing the diversity present in our practice field and the difficulty in converging on a way forward, or even a sense of where we are, as a collective. Part of the challenge of co-sensing is the complexity of what we’re sensing into. Looking at the vastness of what is present in our midst, we recognise that this is the nature of our cosmos and how it operates. As individual practitioners, too, we are ‘all over the map’ in terms of what level of scale we are comfortable sensing; we each have different scopes and depths of vision and insight, and yet each one of us is capable of sourcing great wisdom from our natural scope.
The Collective Alchemy Practice Guide evokes our practice as a means to bridge from the current (Mental/Rational) structure of consciousness prevailing in humanity to the Integral structure defined by Jean Gebser as “a consciousness of the whole, an integral consciousness encompassing all time and embracing both man’s distant past and his approaching future as a living present.” Key to this is “a constant opening up in many directions and to many dimensions, from a present sense of aliveness in ‘this is what is,’ to the possible next unfoldings immanent in every moment-of-now.”
It truly feels like this is what we are in in our co-sensing these days. It’s like looking at an immense whirlpool, and realising that we are seeing a bird’s-eye view of the universe-as-torus from above. Seen from the side, the black hole at the centre that pulls everything into it becomes a portal that reduces all matter to its singularity and flips it out the other side in a transformed state, ready for another cycle around, perhaps with an up-graded essence. The torus is a fractal form, present at all levels of scale in our universe, including our own bodies and our physiological and psychological processes. In our practice of Collective Alchemy, the function of the centre of the torus is fulfilled by the question we circle up around. That is what pulls us each into the alchemical fire of our transformation. Given the complexity of what is at play—in our world and in our lives— converging on a question is an eye-watering endeavour!
What’s the question that can pull us though to the other side? What kind of question are we aiming for? The reality is that every man, woman and child on the planet is seeking to navigate their lives, in these increasingly chaotic times, with different degrees of capacity to sense and make sense of what is happening; within an ever-shifting inner chemistry on the spectrum of aliveness, awakeness, alertness through numbness, distraction, absencing, dissociation; and constantly fluctuating emotional states from joy and fulfilment to anxiety, grief and pain. Picture us all at different places in the torus-ride/slide towards the hyper-intense transformation point at the centre. Collective alchemy truly is an exquisite metaphor for the experience of embodied existence in this universe!
This is the balance we’re trying to strike within our co-sensing: given the breath and depth that each one of us embodies, given the diversity of what’s happening in our lives and how we are navigating that, what conditions can we invite so that each one of us who shows up on Portal Day will be touched deeply enough, activated strongly enough, and fired wholly enough to go through our own alchemising, but also alchemising as a collective? Given the nature of the co-sensing we have been in, the question that has emerged at our centre for this portal day is:
How is collective alchemy expressing itself in our lives?
To be clear, this question does not refer to Collective Alchemy, the practice field, but to the actual, inescapable cosmic metabolic process whereby we find our feet, in real-time, real-life moment-by-moment, in any and every context, on any or all of the paths of transformation: the The 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 is pure will remain. This process of removal is what we are calling the Via Negativa.—the burning away of that which is not truly who we are; the The Via Positiva is the bridge of practice that we trust will carry us forward into an ever deeper and stronger capacity to live in Integral consciousness. This path takes the form of collective inquiry, mostly using the foundational practice of Collective Presencing, to lean into more transpersonal questions—matters of concern to the human collective, and eventually even beyond the personal level of the psyche, and beyond mundane worldly events.—transparent perception (“verition”) of reality beyond Mental-Rational consciousness; the mysterious path strewn with magical synchronicities and experiences of communion and togetherness that we are beginning to recognise as the Via Creativa.
We leave the last word to our prophetic Practice Guide: “Embracing the Great Work requires a willingness to be transformed: You cannot have lukewarm alchemy. Being willing, indeed, means continually dropping all pretense of knowing who you are, and placing this journey of discovery at the centre of your life and being. It requires consciously choosing to keep turning toward the prima materia and moving into the alchemical fire. It requires abiding in the territory of the individual and collective unconscious and the not-knowing that lies between the present and the emerging future. It requires facing and embracing the fears that arise, emerging naked and perplexed into a transmuted reality, wearing one new layer of the skin of our potential wholeness and still willing to turn back into the fire. No wonder the original alchemists were appalled at the price they had to pay to obtain the philosopher’s stone! Given the intensity, what makes the Collective Alchemy process palatable and sustainable is holding the crucible together, witnessing each other’s learning, holding each other in compassion and celebrating each other’s moments of transformation, as we hang on in there together, awakening consciousness and wisdom.”
Preparation for the calls:
We invite you to simply re-read this invitation, and sit with all it implies.
(Re)discover the blog series on Integral Consciousness.
* A word about transparency
The Collective Alchemy co-sensing process is open to all. Practitioners who are part of the Collective Alchemy village on Telegram (all are welcome!) can access the shared field notes from the co-sensing journey, whether or not you have participated in the co-sensing calls. If you wish to join the Telegram group, please contact Sarah or Helen.
These days, portal waves begin with the monthly hangout, the check-out of which is harvested into the co-sensing field notes to inform the co-sensing process. The hangouts themselves are not currently harvested, but the recordings are available in the Collective Alchemy Living Room. If you have not yet been admitted to the Living Room, please contact Sarah or Helen.
Also, for transparency, please see our Newsletter: Patronage & Financial Fuel Contributor’s Update: Apr 2021 -> Jan 2022 – with Call to Action (Jan 2022)
The fire that heats the crucible of transformation cannot burn without fuel. Whether you are a practitioner or simply wish to see this practice field flourish, you are invited to bring in some financial flow and energy, as an offering to ensure that this practice can continue to be hosted well.
Your financial contributions are also tangible ways of investing, reciprocating, sharing appreciation and deepening commitment to yourself, the collective and to the transformational potential of this practice. Contributions can be sent via Paypal (single payment or recurring) or Wise (single payment only).
To contribute, please see our Donate page.