Past Life Tribal Body Memories. Interview with Elizabeth Slate, Founder of The Alchemical Nursery , Syracuse, NY

What new /traditional alchemic processes, symbols and texts will you bring to permaculture?

In my opinion, the alchemical process is one of creation – the manifestation of divine will. My personal philosophy is that alchemy is the enactment of intentional transformation and growth. Ultimately, I see this growth and development to be of positive change and spiritual awakening.

Life is creation. Life is art. Alchemy is art and creation. The art of living intentionally is alchemical process, and that process embodies all aspects of doing, informed by being. Permaculture is the art of living intentionally. It is a big picture systems approach to doing, informed by awakening being, that is a process of co-creative, continual learning and growing. So, permaculture is itself an alchemical process.

How does The Alchemical Nursery (TAN) infuse spirituality into the day to day “seed to dinner table” of permaculture?

Spirituality is the day to day art of living intentionally, which involves unfurling being and doing with awareness, and the desire to develop awareness in all interconnected aspects and areas of life. Our work is therefore inherently spiritual work. Aside from the overall obviousness of everything we do being a spiritual “work” in progress, we have in the past hosted shamanic journeys, and are currently developing a program to include a Spiritual Resource Center.

What leaders and groups provide the foundation for TAN? What opportunities and tools do you share with

We are a diverse group of passionate, creative thinkers who are involved in the community in various ways. Speaking for myself, I would be willing to share whatever opportunities and tools with that I can, however am unsure at this point what is required or desired. Non-profit project management and consultation? Up-cycled crafts? Energy work? Raw chocolate bars? Holistic health coaching?

How would you teach “co-creating” to seniors?

This is an interesting question. It may help to know what the setting would be – I think in any situation co-creation starts with shared interests and needs. Of course in the grand scheme of things I would say our collective shared interest is living healthily and happily in harmony with all that is – but it is easy to forget that larger interconnected reality in the day to day drama of individual existence.

So if the said seniors live in the same retirement community for example, perhaps the focus would be a project in which each member has a clear and vested interest. Group decision making and facilitation skill building would be excellent topics for workshops to produce successful co-creative projects. That, and having willing participants. If people are not ready to do the work, you will be hard-pressed to convince them otherwise. The work cannot be enforced – only suggested and made available to those who feel ready.

Is sustainability like a new religion?

Wow – comparing sustainability to religion sounds like a devil’s advocate position on what could be considered a hot button issue – potentially offensive and controversial, but definitely very thought-provoking!! How fabulous! I think for a lot of people “religion” is a charged word that smacks of dogma and oppressive, top-down, shaming, fragmenting practices and ideas. However, I think shaming and fragmentation also occurs amongst those who think a lot about how to live lightly on the earth – including shouldering a lot of personal guilt about inherited and difficult to avoid unsustainable ways, and carrying harsh judgment of others who do not live up to whatever personal ideas about the musts and shoulds of living sustainably, which in turn creates division.

Sustainability is such a broad notion about which people all have different ideas of what it means to them, and different capacities for adhering to their beliefs in action and lifestyle. There are the issues of greenwashing and hypocrisy to take into consideration.

I think non-judgment is very important – for those who are awakening and choosing to live with intention, there is not much use in blaming unconsciousness for unconsciousness. Easier said than done of course when you begin to see the implications of continued unconsciousness at work – and when personally suffering the pains of oppression and pollution on all levels that result from it. Death destruction disease. May feel like a bummer that we can only be responsible for our own path. To try to force another awake causes frustration, anger, and resentment for both parties. Is it a fruitless endeavor?

Nurturing love and understanding in the face of these challenges is great spiritual work for each of us. To accept and have faith in the process acknowledges our own lack of control – and acknowledges how we are all connected. Our personal decision to live intentionally cannot force anyone else to do so before they are ready – and we cannot ultimately escape the products of the unconscious actions of others – however frustrating and upsetting that may be. We are all in this together.

So to answer your question, I don’t know! Does anybody?

Is music and art part of the permaculture vision there? Is art more… Nature inspired?

Permaculture, in my understanding and opinion, is a holistic approach to life – it is about systems and interconnection. How could art and music be somehow separate, or not a part, of living?

“The goal of evolving an ecovillage in the context of a currently existing urban mosaic is a long-term project, growing from an eco-house to an eco-block to an eco-hood to an eco-village. To achieve this goal, Alchemical is working on creating the major supporting systems of everyday life that any ecovillage needs for success.”

Please tell us about the elements and implementations of the “supporting systems?” What are the political hurdles?

The supporting systems, in my opinion, are the people – the agents of change – the enactors of divine will and creative process. The political hurdles are real, and imaginary at the same time. I think that half the battle, for each of us, is to believe in what we are doing, and to believe in ourselves. Reputation and connections aside, I think the sheer force of confident action, and the even more impressive presence of one who is consciously developing themselves – the shining of their emerging being – is something that can move mountains. Impossibility is a mind-made artifact.

Can you define sound alchemy and how human-made noises will work with Natural sounds?

I love to dance and I know how music moves me. It is a very ecstatic experience for me – eliciting past life tribal body memories. Music speaks to my soul, and in my body’s irrepressible enactment of this deep movement, I feel that I am remembering and feeling my oneness with all that is. And so it goes when I commune with the natural environment. It is a euphoric recognition of connection – an energetic realization of the joy and love that is imbued in our world and carried within ourselves – expressed by all around us, and reflected in our doing – including our music. Music is art, expression of life, of love, of being. Our natural world is also art, an expression of that which cannot be named. No small wonder that they should elicit similar experiences for me!

How does TAN work with all ages and backgrounds?

We all do what we can to reach out to those in our community. With that being said, there is always more to be done – and there are most certainly aspects of our organization that have yet to be seriously developed. With a very limited budget and no paid employees, we do not currently have the capacity to develop and maintain targeted programming. However, I believe we do have an impact on a diverse group of people through the events that we do participate in or initiate. As with life in general, our outreach and impact is progressive in nature, and organically unfolding.

Can you teach permaculture online?

Teaching permaculture. Hmm. Well, I would have to say that certain aspects of permaculture can be taught – and certain aspects of permaculture are grown over time, through personal and co-creative experience and development. So to answer this question, I would say that in some ways, yes you can, and in some ways, no you can’t! I think certifications, classes, and workshops are great starting points for further development, as well as excellent arenas for dialogue, networking, and co-creation.

* * * * * * *

Elizabeth Slate Bio –

Mz. Slate is the Founder of The Alchemical Nursery, and a spiritual activist, and visionary, creating community from the inside out.

“Developing a relationship with myself, Gaia, and the universe has been my progressive journey of ecstatic love and joy for all that is. It has reaffirmed for me why I am here and what I have always felt called to do – which is to offer myself to the world and the universe in service. My Self and my Love are my gifts to the world. I am eager to do all I can to share these gifts, and to help others find their own place of joy, gratitude, unwavering love and abundance deep within themselves, and to see it in all around them.

This is the work of many lifetimes and people and paths. Taking a holistic approach to life and its challenges gives me hope for personal and collective evolution.”

Connections –

Elizabeth Slate
Alchemicalnursery at


About [ open myth source ]

The [open myth source] project gathers conversations, symbols, songs, visual art and stories. Building a house for Myth in the Sustainability Age.
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