The next Spiral Gathering will happen in the Spring of 2014 .

E-mail us if you want to be notified when it is scheduled.

painting from Spiral 10-13Spiral Gatherings

Spiral gatherings are instances of chaos theory at work. We have no agendas and no leaders, but each time we gather, we self-organize and begin an exploration of collaboration. That is the one “rule”: what we do is collaborative in some way. Sometimes we collaborate with other parts of nature as well as with other humans. We are open to strange attractors that push us in new directions.

So a new collaborative intelligence emerges, unpredictable from anything we might have experienced while acting in isolation and a tremendous creative potential is released.

What we give up is the “certainty” of our reliance on leaders who will spare us the trouble of facing uncertainty. And we learn to live with the tensions of diversity and divergences in points of view that are inevitable but instead of turning these into power struggles, we turn them into the heat of creative chaos.


In 1999, feeling a need for a more experiential resource, Constance Hester and Elise Peeples enlisted the help of six other women who, had expertise in writing, collaborative art, dreams, movement, improvisation, music and/or human-habitat relations. They collaborated on a workbook which became The Spiral: Explorations in the Between.

Explorations in The Spiral engage each other’s creativity, conjuring up the collective imagination in the shared spaces between us.

In order to try out the explorations they were writing about for The Spiral, the authors began meeting for two-day periods. The spiral gatherings have evolved into an experimental ground for learning and documenting collaboration skills.

Through the use of these non-linear experiential explorations, we develop the vision and skills needed in this new consciousness we are creating. The approach has been to get us out of our heads and our egos and into our body-minds and the Betweens of each other.

Since 1999 the authors of The Spiral have been meeting two-four times per year for 2-3 days at a time in a retreat setting. We try out already written explorations and create new ones. We opened up these weekends to others to experience as well. The most exciting thing has been learning through experience the value of collaboration and the magic that happens when we put our egos and our inhibitions on the back burner and let go.

During the weekends there are no agendas, other than perhaps an idea in someone’s head of an exploration they would like to do. Someone suggests an exploration which leads into another one or one that is created on the spot. There must be enough openness and willingness for the flow to happen, but where it will lead can never be predicted ahead of time. For instance, we often start with a dream someone had the night before and then go from there to collaborative art to storytelling to movement to poetry--all from the origin of one or two dreams.

The only ground rules are 1.) that our ideas include everyone and help us explore the Between in non-linear ways, 2.) that we respond to each other’s ideas with a “yes!” first and foremost; then if the idea needs to be tweaked, we participate in brainstorming it until it feels right, and 3.) that we remain open to where we are led.

The richness that lies Between us is endlessly fascinating. I can’t get there alone; I need others and others need me. This richness must be experienced. We can talk about it forever and we might think, “yeah, maybe,” but when you experience it, it changes you; it changes your consciousness.develop and identify creative, non-linear ways of re-connecting mind and body, you and me, us and them. We set out to create pathways to the Betweens of mind and body, of each other, of ourselves and the habitat.

At the beginning, we meant for these gatherings to be a place to try out explorations we had created for The Spiral, a workbook accompaniment to The Emperor. It then became an experimental ground for learning how to collaborate and for documenting those skills.

What we do would not work if we imposed an agenda on it or if someone tried to “run” it. We have all become very protective of what works because it is so rewarding, fun and creative; we seem to be getting help from outside ourselves.

viviane and Elise brigid