The Transforming Fire

July 29th – Aug 2nd, 2019
Orcas Island, Washington

A workshop exploring the inner and outer weavings of fire co-facilitated by Jonathan Code and Maureen Curran

‘The plant can be but a flowering flame…the animal a moving flame…and the human being a speaking flame’.                                               Novalis  

What…or who…is a human being?

This is perhaps the most crucial question of our time. How we answer this question – and how we live it – determines how we will live in the world, with each other and with ourselves. As we enter times of potentially radical change we would do well to live deeply into this question and to – collectively and collaboratively – explore its many dimensions.

Taking our departure from the pithy proposal that the human being is a ‘speaking flame’ (Novalis) Fire will be our primary focus for these five days: how we kindle it, nurture it and transform with it; how it lives in us and moves in us, and how it lives in the natural world around us. Our collective task will be to kindle a ‘needfire’, an act that goes to the heart of what it means to be human at this time.

The workshop will engage with processes and practices central to the work of the teacher, the healer, the grower and anyone who shares a fascination for this central question of what it means to be human at this time!

Maureen Curran and Jonathan Code will co-facilitate this five day workshop delving deeply into the ways of fire – inner and outer. We will engage with Fire in its many guises through:

  • Transformative Movement Sessions
  • Collaborative tasks and exercises
  • Contemplative practice
  • Demonstrations and discussion
  • Creative reflection

Join us on a transformative journey as we delve deeply into the fascinating (and often elusive) nature of Fire!

To Book Contact: Kathryn Betuel –
Bookings accepted until June 29, 2019

COST: $400.00

A daily snack will be provided during the workshop. A list of available lodging and camping sites on the island can be provided upon request.

‘Animal Nature’ explored at day-long workshop

Where: Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud

When: Saturday, February 23, 9am-7pm

A one-day workshop is being held at the Museum in the Park Pavilion in Stroud at which delegates will seek to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of animals.

‘Animal Nature’, which takes place on Saturday, February 23, is being organised by the Stroud-based Crossfields Institute who researches, promotes and provides integrative and inclusive approaches to education and organisational development

The focus of the day is our human relationship to the animal world. We start small by investigating the organisms that live in, and indeed make, the soil that we rely on to grow food. Then we will consider the true nature of the animals that we have domesticated on farms. 

After lunch, provided as part of the workshop, we will explore our own natures and how the animal world is both part of us and provides external symbols and metaphors to develop our understanding and guide our behaviour.  

The day will be a mix of talks, practical exercises and discussion in the beautiful setting of Stratford Park.

A number of experts have been lined up to speak at the event. In the morning, Dr Liz Hamilton from the University of Gloucestershire will speak on ‘Animals Underground’, while Ed Berger, biodynamic land manager of the Ruskin Mill Trust, will then lead a session about ‘Seeing the Animal Whole’.

After lunch, Roger Duncan, a systemic family therapist, will lead a session entitled ‘Encountering Animal’; Dr Isis Brook, a research Fellow at Crossfields Institute International, will speak on ‘Animal Ethics: Perspectives’; and Jonathan Code, Director and researcher at Crossfields Institute International will lead a session on ‘Animals & Transformation’.

The cost of the day is £65 for full attendance (light lunch included). To book a place, call 01453 808118 or email

The Poetics of Leadership conference eflyer

Dear All,

Please find attached the eflyer for our next conference, which will take place in Cumbria, UK, in September 2018. Registration, accommodation and programme details can all be found here.
Basic details about the conference are on the flyer below.

It promises to be an excellent and timely event for anyone interested in the role of leadership in these challenging times. I hope you can make it. Do please circulate to anyone else who you think might be interested.


(On behalf of the conference organisers)

Open Clinical Day Organised by the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine

The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine is having Open Clinical Day on the 11th May for Healthcare Professionals looking for a broader approach to healthcare focusing on managing musculoskeletal and gut health at Engineers’ House in Clifton, Bristol.

For more information, please visit:

MOOC on Politics, Art and Resistance – 16th April 2018

This is to let you know about a new initiative that Iain Mackenzie and Stefan Rossback at University of Kent are launching: It is a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) on politics, art and resistance. The details are available on the website.

The course is FREE, lasts for four weeks, and starts on 16th April 2018. It is open to anyone with an interest in politics, art, resistance. The work that students create on the course will be on display at TATE Modern in late May/early June as part of a TATE Exchange workshop. Stefan and Iain have contributed to past Crossfields Institute conferences, and their work is always inspiring and challenging. Highly recommended.

The Poetics of Leadership Conference. Extended submission deadline

Dear All,

As you might already know, our next conference will take place on the 7th and 8th September 2018 in the Lake District, UK. The title of the conference is The Poetics of Leadership and in it we will explore how creativity, art and story can enable meaningful change in a leadership context.

We have decided to extend the submission deadline for papers and other contributions. The new deadline is the 28th February 2018. Contributions are invited from academics, practitioners and postgraduate students. We would particularly like to encourage contributions that break narrow disciplinary boundaries.

The full submission guidelines can be found in this document. Further details about the conference can be found here.

If you are actively engaged in this field either as practitioner, academic, researcher or student, then we would very much welcome a submission from you. You might also know of others who would be interested, so please do circulate this email as appropriate.

If you would like to be taken off this mailing list do let me know.


(On behalf of the conference organisers)

Leadership, Ethics and Working with Unknowing: Conference programme

The programme for our conference Leadership, Ethics and Working with Unknowing is now now available, and you can view it here.

The conference will take place on the 10th and 11th of March at the UWE campus in Bristol and it is for anyone interested in new and emerging approaches to leadership in a radically changing world.

If you would like to attend, you can reserve a place by visiting the link above.

Upcoming Conference: Young People Need You


Time:    10:00 – 16:00
Venue:  Bishops Hull House, Taunton
Cost:     to be confirmed

In response to the South West Youth Parliament’s manifesto that ‘mental health services for young people and education about mental health, needs to be drastically improved’ a regional cross sector gathering is planned with the intention of demonstrating how politicians, agencies, local authorities, education institutions , youth and community groups, charities, children’s services, mental health workers, social and care services in the South West are responding.
We Need You!
* Conference Submissions Wanted *

Should you have experience of or be involved with mental health and feel that you can meaningfully contribute to the discussion in the South West then
we would love to hear from you.

Call for Presentations Document
Call for Presentations Submission Form

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday
30 September 2015.

If you would like to reserve a place on the event or request more details please contact

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.”

Dennis-Klocek-300x179 (1)
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 – 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.