Special Events and Intensive Workshops

Selva Oscura - In the Dark Forest of the Spirit
with Guido Masé
Saturday, October 25th 10 am – 4pm
$50/$45 for members

At some point in life we each find ourselves in the dark part of the forest. Some pass quickly through it, others linger, still others embark on the journey of the ancient heroes: through the darkness, into the underworld, and back into the light of life. Often, the brave adventurer brings allies: a trail of breadcrumbs, a golden branch, a sacred mushroom, a wise friend. Transformation always follows. But the forest itself is more than just the setting in these stories. It is also the catalyst, the confounder, the challenger. Skillfully navigating the trails of the deep wood can make the difference between an inspired, creative life and one that is dreary, lost in repeating cycles. We will begin by exploring this wood in ourselves, map out its most common paths, and reflect on what this means for our hearts and spirits. From here, we will identify some allies and tools that can be brought to bear by examining cases commonly classified as “mental illness”. Be it depression, panic, post-traumatic distress, or simply nagging discomfort, anger, or apathy, we will find that we may reach the clear road again with plant allies, a gentle guide, and a willingness to confront fear.

By examining emerging research on the structure and activity of the human nervous system, we will discover that we all carry an old and powerful tree within us, too. It is grounded in our tissues, and reaches out its canopy to the sky of mind, emotion, and spirit. When this tree is in the dark part of the forest, it can suffer: the dim light is inadequate to feed its branches, and the consciousness twists and shrivels. The roots, undernourished, may atrophy and retreat: microneural damage throughout the body contributes to regional pain syndromes, often a part of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or any long-term, trapping illness.

We will share strategies for feeding these roots, using simple meals and medicinal plants, while reviewing the allies and rituals that protect and guide us on the hero’s journey. Be prepared to engage with this journey during our time together. Those who would be guides must look down the path and be willing to get lost, if only for a moment, in the shadows of the wild. The trail will be safe, but it will still have a taste of the challenge we all need to find our way back home.

 

Practical alchemy: Principles and Techniques of Spagyric Extraction
with Guido Masé
Saturday, November 8th 10 am – 4pm
$50/$45 for members

Though alchemical preparations have ranged from the mundane to the exceedingly complex, there are some basic techniques that find the “sweet spot” between a simple tincture and elaborate, multi-day rituals and still can enhance the flavor, vibrancy, and potency of your medicinal herbal extracts. We will discuss the Paracelsian synthesis of old Hermetic science, its application in the field of medicinal extraction, and the reasons why we might want to cultivate this art. At the same time, we’ll separate and refine the alchemical sulfur and salt of an aromatic botanical over the course of the day, using an outdoor fire and dutch oven for calcination, and a hydrosol and tincture distillate for essential oil potentization. Finally, we’ll blend the mix into a spagyric extract – salty, pungent, complex – by adding the salts and essentials to the mercury, the mother tincture. You’ll leave with a little bit of the spagyric extact to share with friends and family.