The 20th Annual European Transpersonal Association (Eurotas) Conference touched down in Paris from the 25th-29th September, bringing together transpersonal specialists from the fields of psychology, research, spirituality, art, philosophy, ecology and related disciplines. Its packed agenda included presentations, workshops, off-spaces, early morning activities and an evening of Brazilian live music that kept the dance-floor heaving until late. The theme of “Being Human in a World in Transition” was approached from many different perspectives and explored through research, ritual and dialogue. A call for collaborative approaches between Western and Indigenous knowledge, and a transpersonally-oriented awareness of our impact as part of the planetary ecosystem resonated throughout the conference.
The Eurotas Youth Council offered fresh perspectives, including the observation that when you tap into other ways of knowing, the question of what it means to be human disappears and is replaced by embodied knowing. The orientation becomes action and activism, instead of philosophy and mental models. “We must recognise our relationality with our bodies and move away from dichotomies,” they proposed. Another new group, the International Transpersonal Women’s Network, discussed the importance of integration from a feminine perspective that includes reconnecting with sacred sexuality and ecology.
Alef Trust faculty Les Lancaster, Steve Taylor, Steven Schmitz and Jevon Dängeli gave presentations, as did two students. Eryn Donnalley shared her personal story of inner transformation through a narrative account that focused on how our inner world crises in Western civilizations, such as depression, mental health, obesity and excessive acquisition are symptomatic of a ‘soul void’ that seeks comfort through overconsumption of retail products and body-mind-soul harming food, drugs and activities. “The problem is, little broken people turn into big broken people who have no awareness of their impact on others or the planet. We have to heal these individual stories and shrink the soul void to save the planet,” she shared.
Jasmin Bloch offered a powerful workshop which invited participants to explore the question of “Who are you really?”, beyond the roles you play, the degrees you’ve earned and the things you think you know – who is here right now? Guided deep-imagery meditation led to boxes of crayons and intuitive art as participants explored, perceived and expressed non-rational ways of knowing, and later sharing and receiving feedback to their process in small groups. The resonances within the groups added a deeply insightful relational dimension to the individual reflections.
One of the highlights for many participants was a short trip to the nearby Cathedral of Chartres. As Jim Garrison explained, the divine feminine as potential is more than just a metaphor, it is a powerful energy from deep within the Earth. This telluric Earth energy is just as potent now as it was in Druid times when the Cathedral was founded on this site. Participants were able to stand inside, feel their own resonances and observe the labyrinth, its epicentre that represents the rising of feminine energy.
The closing ritual offered an invitation to reflect on the experiences of these five intense days. Large sheets of paper were posted to collect a snapshot of thoughts and impressions. “Which emotions did you experience in Eurotas 2019?” Power and courage – groundedness – opening – frustration, not enough experiential – resonance – gratitude… “Which could be new ideas for Eurotas 2020?” Sacred location – circularity and co-creativity – workshops in nature – more about scientific research – no plastic!! x6 – more body work. “Which are the actions that you want to implement in your reality?” Connection – forgiveness – more artistic activities – transmit the vitality of nature – teach understanding and acceptance of differences – connection… Being human in a world in transition is a call to step up as individuals and collectives in many different and interrelated ways.
Our online distance-learning MSc in ‘Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology’ provides an intellectually-stimulating programme of study which focuses on diverse topics around the nature of consciousness, the dynamics between psyche and soma, the psychology of self and higher states of being, and the psychological basis of spiritual and mystical practices. Our MSc programme is distinctive in valuing experiential approaches to learning and in encouraging students to incorporate insights from the programme into their own life journeys. In addition to a rigorous academic curriculum, modules exploring integral life practice, transpersonal approaches to research, and a research dissertation focus on the practical application of learning. The MSc programme consists of 180 course credits and most students complete the programme over 3 years, studying part-time. The programme is run entirely online, and it is validated by Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.
Francesca Hector is Executive Assistant for the Alef Trust. She holds an MA (Hons) in English Literature and Italian from the University of Edinburgh, and is currently completing an MSc in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology with the Alef Trust/ Middlesex University. Her interests include embodied spirituality, expanded states of consciousness, participatory research, and their application in personal and social transformation. She has a background in the Holistic Transformation approach of Estel Centre of Integral Studies, Kundalini Yoga (KRI Level 2) and Karam Kriya spiritual numerology, and enjoys expressive dance, art, and intercultural dialogue. Francesca also works as magazine editor, writer and translator for various projects and publications.