Upcoming Event: SoilCulture at create 2015, 4 July – 26 August


Soil Culture at Create is the UK’s summer celebration of UN International Year of Soils 2015. It takes place during July and August at the Create centre in Bristol, the UK’s first Green Capital of Europe, chosen for its willingness to take risks and look at new ideas. Soil Culture at Create is a time and place to explore our relationships to the life-giving matter of soil and discover ways to safeguard its vital role in the future of food and the health of the planet.

Crossfields International staff will be at the event on the following dates:

  • 11th July – Jonathan Code
  • 1st August – Dr. Isis Brook
  • 8th August – Dr. Kenneth Gibson
  • 15th August – Charlotte von Bulow (Founder & Chief Executive)

The Vision of Soil Culture at Create is to:

  • explore the significance of soil in the every day and how it supports vibrant communities
  • offer life changing experiences with the living matter of soil to inspire new stories to live by
  • amplify and connect soil and food initiatives in Bristol during its year as Green Capital of Europe
  • make visible and taste-able the relationships between healthy soil and healthy food
  • share ways of gardening and farming which respect and enliven soils
  • support action for policy changes to protect local and global soils
  • create a lasting legacy which strengthens the soil, art and food movements

Click here to view flyer

Transformed by the Fire? A Look Back on a Unique Event

The Transforming Fire : Workshop with Dennis Klocek and Jonathan Code

Coordinated by Jonathan Code in conjunction with Crossfields Institute International

April 8th,9th,10th 2015

The-Transforming-Fire-v-5-212x300“I attended the three day Alchemical Workshop with Dennis Klocek, and also his day workshop on ‘Weather’, the very best ever, on both counts. These were life-changing experiences for me, and I know they were also for one or two others I am acquainted with, and we will be continuing the work begun with Dennis at the Field Centre.  So thank you for all your input and dedication.”

“I really enjoyed the workshop with Dennis and Jonathan. The content was well-focussed on the topic, and there was a good balance of the practical/pragmatic with the more spiritual/nebulous. I particularly enjoyed that Jonathan brought some of his apparatus into the workshop and actually ran distillations etc.”

“I enjoyed the workshop very much, it was so rich on every level and full of metaphors for life. Dennis and Jonathan complemented each other very well and it was good to see things happening in various apparatus. So thank you very much also for letting me participate at such short notice! The content and the delivery were all excellent.  Thank you.”

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In April 2015, Crossfields Institute International hosted a three day workshop called The Transforming Fire. This workshop was a collaboration between Dennis Klocek (author, researcher, lecturer and biodynamic gardener –  www.dennisklocek.com) and Jonathan Code (author, lecturer with Crossfields Institute International). This three day workshop was founded on a demonstration of the practical stages undertaken in the creation of a spagyric tincture or essence. In this process a medicinal plant is first separated into its Three Principles: essential oil, ethanol and organic salts. This process is known as the ‘separation of the essential from the non-essential’. The three Essentials or Principles are then re-united, or “married” in order to create a concentrated medicinal tincture.

The workshop followed – on the one hand – the practical or technical processes (distillation, fermentation, incineration etc.) which use heat or warmth in different applications in order to get the ‘right separation’ and subsequent ‘right synthesis’. Alongside these practical aspects of the spagyric process we also studied analogous processes occurring in human physiology, in the psyche or soul and in a multitude of natural processes which – from an alchemical point of view – also reveal the Three Principles as informing dynamics. The study and practical engagement with Spagyrics has proved – for the course leaders – to be an effective motif for understanding and working creatively with disciplines as diverse as agriculture and organisational process.

Spagyric principles were contextualised further by Dennis in his research into preparation making in Biodynamics and during the course of the workshop he Transforming-Fire-Tree-Drawing-268x300presented aspects of his current research into the use of gems in biodynamic preparations with particular applications in viticulture. These are currently being trialled in California.

Jonathan, as well as introducing the laboratory processes and equipment used in the making of a spagyric tinctures,  led sessions on the study of alchemical imagery, with a particular focus on the image of the alchemical tree from Johann Daniel Mylius’s series of emblems Philosophia Reformata.

The workshop was very well received and had an enthusiastic response from all involved – not least the presenters!

“I really enjoyed it. Hadn’t really known what to expect. I did find bits challenging – being new to the topic. I guess that this was sort of made a bit harder by the fact that there were some really knowledgeable people who asked questions and challenged.

I thought that JC and DK made a great double act. The two of them offered different views and approaches and I thought that they worked really well together. I was very smooth in it’s delivery.


Upcoming Event: Contemplation in the Classroom

An exploration of contemplative pedagogy in higher & further education
12th June – 14th June 2015 at Emerson College, Sussex

This event will bring together educators working in higher and further education with an interest in utilising contemplative practice in their teaching. The aim of the weekend is to deepen our understanding of contemplative pedagogy and to learn from each other’s experiences of teaching.

The focus of the weekend will be on how contemplative practice can be integrated into teaching and learning activities. What forms can it take? What are the challenges we face in integrating contemplative pedagogy? What are the benefits? What does it ask of us as teachers? We aim to get a balance between intellectual tasks and embodied experience; practice and theory; connection with others and internal reflection.

Although the weekend is aimed at educators working in higher or further education, anyone with an interest in contemplative pedagogy and a willingness to engage in a range of contemplative practices is very welcome.


Part-time Study: the Best Path for Busy People?

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Image taken from article on Guardian.com


Everyone knows that higher education can provide a boost to your career and open up new opportunities for progression. However, working full-time prevents many people from attending full-time courses. Studying part-time can enable you to boost your CV without having to leave your job. Lucy Jolin at the Guardian reports on some positive examples of people who have done just that, and considers the pros and cons of part-time study.