Social Alchemy Retreat – Transmuting ‘lead’ into ‘gold’ in the social field


Why are we offering this?


Our world is facing many challenges –  extreme weather events, political instabilities, excessive corporate power, enormous wealth inequalities, domestic and international violence, and more….


To compound the situation, urgency and intensity activate fear-based patterns of us-against-them, acting and reacting, rather than being open to creative and inclusive solutions ….


Personal and social trauma have left many of us with “blocked reaching-out movements”, inhibiting us from moving towards creating the world we want to live in …


Those of us who have experienced Constellations know how deeply traumatized and entangled families and social systems can become.

We are aware of the importance of unseen factors and forces that perpetuate these entanglements.

We have experienced the power of resolution when all find their right place in the system, and when what occurred is acknowledged rather than avoided.


Our intention is to:

- provide deep access into fields of social issues to find healing insights and movements

- provide supportive holding spaces to contain the intense distress/reactivity that occurs in the field

- create spaces that help liberate the profound creativity that is required to overcome such challenges



What do we intend to accomplish?


We come together to explore and create forms of social inquiry and healing that can be of service to the larger world, and to:


- uncover deep experiential understandings and an embodied experience of the social field, to help inform the work that we are doing


-free blocked-reaching-out-movements that limit us (personally AND socially) from taking bold and loving steps forward with regard to social issues


- empower ourselves as individual, group, and as a culture


- be present to collective suffering and trauma in ways that minimize the cycles of reactivity and attack, and facilitate their integration into the system.


-come into deeper indwelling relationship with sacred/expanded dimensions of living, accessing them as personal and social resources


- assist with untangling the social field around significant issues, and to offer healing in whatever ways we can within it


-acknowledge perpetrator guilt while relieving the burdens of shame that keep the system out of alignment.


- gather the content insights, and the process insights, that have emerged from our explorations together, and share them with others. This can help them benefit by what we discover, and more finely tune their activist efforts



How will we do this?


This will involve a 3-stage process:

A) Accessing creativity and intuition to illuminate powerful, often unappreciated, influences in the social field,

B) Accessing the field even more deeply and directly, seeking healing movements and resources

C) Communicating to others what we have discovered.



We will draw from the following processes and concepts:

Ritual Inquiry and Field Presence – Constellations

Processes of Emergence – Focusing, Art of Hosting, Open Dialogue, Dynamic Facilitation

Processes of Peacemaking – Nonviolent Communication

Concrete Activism – dedication, courage, on-the-ground organizing skills

Subtle Activism – working with the field in other ways

Neurobiology – integration, developmental sequences



1-The core process will be Family and Systemic Constellations.

Systemic Constellations make use of our innate ability to perceive the relationships in a system, so that we may bring insight and re-align that which is out of order. It allows us to test new configurations to determine when a system is most aligned. It allows us to understand what is missing, and perceive when the system is whole.

Our bodies are capable of understanding highly nuanced relationships between parts of a system. Those who have experienced Constellations are already aware of how we can feel which parts attract, support and fuel each other, which parts repel, which are out of place and which are missing.

2-  There will be several forms of personal and group processes that use deep listening to encourage a rich harvest within the entire group.  Open Space, World Café, Council Circle, Focusing, and Dynamic Facilitation may be brought in to support all of us, in our engagement with large social issues.

3-At times, we will be harvesting and distilling the essences of what we discover so that this can be shared with others who may find it of value.



More about Intended Outcomes:

Two key qualities in achieving exceptional outcomes in the face of life-threatening challenges are empowerment, and group support. We intend to bring as much of each of these as possible into our time together:


1-   Empowerment through the releasing of entanglements.

We seek insight into entanglements in the social field to help participants become effective social change agents. At the same time, we hope to support participants in releasing some of their own entanglements and interrupted reaching-out movements that are interfering with fuller expressions and effectiveness of their own activism.

Releasing entanglements may have a larger social effect, as well.


2-      Accessing sources of wisdom and insight for the larger whole.

Our experience with Constellations, is that the stories and movements that emerge can be a source of information, insight and wisdom for many. In this way, Constellations can function as a generator of guiding insights and stories. Otto Scharmer of MIT uses a similar process in his Social Presencing Theater work.


3-     Harvesting and distilling insights so that they can be shared more widely.

After each constellation, we plan on using a process such as Art of Hosting or Dynamic Facilitation to invite participants’ insights, write them down, and ‘distill’ them into a format that can be shared. From these seed crystals of depth and clarity, the insights, understandings, and suggestions that come from our intensive work together may be able to assist larger communities’ engagements in these issues.


4-      Seeking creative approaches to navigate through areas of collective trauma.

Mindfulness and secure attachment have been demonstrated to help integrate intense emotional experiences and trauma, calm the system, and help generate novel and creative solutions. As a group, the intention is to contain, process, and integrate more personal and collective trauma than can be done by individuals on their own. We intend to design containers for group mindfulness and secure holding spaces.


5-      Accessing additional resources and support

We may pause a social constellation temporarily, when we notice certain powerful energies and resources showing up in the field. During the pause, we may encourage some participants to allow themselves to connect more deeply to these energy resources. This can serve as an empowering resource for activists.


6- Come into deeper and more intimate relationship with non-material forces and energies that are present, yet often go unnoticed. As we expand our understanding of what is real and ‘alive’, this changes how we relate to each other and our world.



7-. Learning how to adapt and fine-tune these processes so that facilitators can expand their repertoire in facilitating large scale social improvement.