Our invitation to practice Collective Alchemy continues 9 October 2020

Friday October 09, 2020


As Collective Alchemy enters its fourth year, and our 14th portal day dawns, we invite you to lean in with us and explore where our practice wants to take us.

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Bilbo Baggins.

Orienting the next Portal Day calls on the arc of the journey so far:

Having completed our harvesting and stock-taking season, we have reached a turning point in our practice. It’s time to venture deeper into the unknown together.

Until now, the pattern of opening a portal to practice Collective Alchemy twice monthly has been interweaving a two-stranded dual path, like the double helix of DNA. This alternation of our attention between the Via Positiva (exploring transpersonal, Integral consciousness) and the Via Negativa (burning off the personal dross that blocks access to it) has stood us in good stead, helping us to learn useful ‘bushcraft’ skills that can help us maintain balance and orientation as we strike out into the uncharted territory of the field of potential opening up for humanity as the Era Shift intensifies.

From now on, we have seen that the course we take will be shaped and guided much more directly by the sensing of the full collective of souls showing up to practice with us on portal days.

On 9 October we will enter our 14th cycle of collective practice together. In the celtic tarot deck that has so often served our sensing in this alchemical adventure, 14 denotes Balance (called Temperance in other tarot decks), and also represents the Alchemist. Here we see the Caduceus, the Albedo (white), Rubedo (red) and Nigredo (black) of the alchemical process, and the whole notion of living in the balance of polarity—light and dark, masculine and feminine, head and heart—rather than the constant misalignments of duality (good or bad, right or wrong) that plague the rational mind.

One clear sign that our practice field is shifting: for this new cycle Molly, Louise and Marie-José have stepped in to join Sarah and Helen in the process of field-sensing and hosting the calls.

Turning to the cards:

As one Portal Day ends and we begin preparation for the next, our first act is to draw the cards: What is the essence of our focus for the next Portal Day? A piece of advice on how to proceed. The most benevolent outcome that might manifest. This time, the cards shed much light on how to proceed in our practice of alchemical transmutation.

Focus: 4 of Arrows, REST. The energy of prostration; giving ourselves to the earth; yielding, submitting to our whole Self. Specifically, this card is calling us to allow all the thought forms (arrows) that arise from our conditioning to come to rest. Transformation then arises (embodied in the butterfly). This card invites us to recognise each thought-form as it arises, and to let each one dissolve. Through this practice, we are abetting the emergence of integral consciousness…

Advice: 3 of Arrows: Jealousy — in light of the focus card, this card foreshadows hard times ahead, but advises us NOT to seek to fend off what’s coming. We abet the transformation of toxic thought forms by leaning into what we are feeling. Take the bait! When thought forms snag us and pull us into the energy of stress, worthlessness, judgement, outrage, polarisation, we allow ourselves to feel the physiological dimensions of these toxic thought forms, so that they can be transmuted into pure life force and released. This is the energy that’s moving, we need to allow ourselves to engage with it.

Most Benevolent Outcome: 14 Balance. Temperance – The Alchemist. A cosmic coincidence, this outcome card for our 14th Portal Day. This card shows us our future selves, having learned (though practice) to step back from the either-or duality of mental-rational consciousness into the more integral stance of holding the entire polarity. Recognising that everything holds polarity, at all levels of scale. We learn to hold our wounded, conditioned self within the embrace of our limitless whole Self; to embody both the white wolf and the black. Everyone you meet is you, let it all in; reclaim your projections on the outside world. Alchemy happens when you let things inside.

Framing the calling question:


Knowledge is a love affair with answers.
Wisdom is a love affair with questions.”

Julio Olalla

The collective process of sensing into the invitation and question for this Portal Day took us on a spiralling trajectory to an inescapable conclusion: the question focusing our practice must be brought forth by the sensing of the full group. To understand the why of this, the best way to frame where we find ourselves in our journey together—and the territory we are being invited into—is to quote from the Collective Alchemy Practice Guide (which feels quite prophetic at times…):

Between the two arcs of ‘old’ and ‘new’ exists a space or gap; an ‘in-between’, rich in potential, possibility, uncertainty and not knowing. Within this transformative vortex of potential resides white-water wave action, often experienced as chaos, grief, terror, exhilaration, aliveness and joy. This is the territory pregnant with potential in which humanity now finds itself, in which we are learning how to surf the waves of change in service of a generative future.

Engaging with any living system means working in complexity — indeed, hypercomplexity. It cannot be approached mechanistically, but requires a multiplicity of perspectives. This means working in and as collectives. This is where individuals need to come together with their peers in collective practice, not only to navigate the fluctuations of non-equilibrium (the source of new order), but also to actively seek and shape the field of potential, in order to increase the probability of benevolent outcomes. This the field of operation of Collective Alchemy. As Nobel prize laureate Ilya Prigogine says in relation to such systems far from equilibrium, it is the small islands of coherence in a sea of chaos that have the capacity to shift the system to a higher order.

What is the impact of an “island of coherence in a sea of chaos?” As we expand and deepen the collective crucible of our practice and presence, might we also be expanding and deepening a “basin of fractal attraction” that increases the likelihood of a particular future manifesting? Is our collective sensing and coming into coherence affecting manifestation beyond our immediate physical control? If so, how can this be demonstrated, when we cannot know with certainty the impact of any intervention into a complex living system? The study of complexity suggests that any such intervention can best target the level of resonance (i.e. beneath the material plane, in the field of subtle energetics). The science which touches this mystery most closely is Rupert Sheldrake’s study of morphic fields and morphic resonance. The morphic field is “a field within and around a morphic unit that organises its characteristic structure and pattern of activity. Morphic fields underlie the form and behaviour of holons, or morphic units, at all levels of complexity. The term morphic field includes morphogenetic, behavioural, social, cultural, and mental fields. Morphic fields are shaped and stabilised by morphic resonance from previous similar morphic units, which were under the influence of fields of the same kind. They consequently contain a kind of cumulative memory and tend to become increasingly habitual.” This speaks to the relevance and importance of collective practice, where groups follow a specific process repeatedly.”

Preparation for the calls:

If you would like to prepare for this process, we invite you to read:

You are also welcome to revisit the harvests from our previous portal days


Your hosts are: Sarah Whiteley, Helen Titchen Beeth, Louise Carpenter, Molly Whiteley, Marie-José d'Aprile

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