A Film on AM from Marcia Plevin

Here is a link to this Video on vimeo:

with interviews by Eila Goldhan
See final credits for a whole list of participants and video staff.

Witness Consciousness and the Development of the Individual

Thank you to Catharine Scherer (see post re. Thesis Survey) and others for asking about my thesis on Witness Consciousness. The whole thesis is now posted on my web site:
I welcome any responses. Paula

Witness Consciousness
in the Development of the Individual

This phenomenological study documents the development of “witness-consciousness” through three data sources. A survey of forty Authentic Movement practitioners, representing a thirty-year span of experience, shows long-term transformational development of the individual. A six-session group study of four “movers” and two “witnesses” reveals how cognitive capacities develop within individuals in the context of relationship. The third source of data highlights the
connection between Authentic Movement and contemplative inquiry and offers evidence that movement, stillness, and perception play a role in the act of bearing witness to the unfolding of consciousness. Through the triangulation of the data sources, a continuum of cognition becomes apparent that is inclusive of intellect, imagination, and intuition.

The findings of this thesis confirm the rich contribution of the moving body to human development, and emphasize how quality of relationship shapes adult transformational growth.

© 2008 Paula C. Sager

Hello, AM by Teri Viereck

Hello, AM
I am responding to your welcome of photos and blogs:

I had a tooth removed and my gap smile looked like "trailer trash".  But  my son suggested  the word "bad ass"!    Then my daughter suggested "insouciant".  But now my favorite self-image word is "wacky".

Here is a an explanation of my aspiration to be kooky and weird.

My process of painting is for the purpose of discovering who I am. 

Stewart Cubley is coaching me; and when he saw this one:

he asked what was in the empty heart center,  i.e. what do I care about?

So I started putting something into the heart center,  I got carried away with the purple and diluting it with water around the edges, then of course more yellow, then some orange red so we have five big yellow daisies,  my favorite flower, my favorite color.   I love flowers and growing things, and being close to nature.  It's still wacky.  I embrace wackiness.

Here I started by just following form and color,  sometimes I see a lightbulb, sometimes a melon.  The little people are wacky, they are independent but at the same time related.   They are improvising with no ulterior motive.  It feels fun.  It is an image for the relationship in a group of people.  It''s like a Rorschach test, though I did not intend that.  What do you see?

Then while a young girl was playing with me yesterday I did this.  The posture of the woman is balanced, stable, limber, graceful, and serene.    The gesture of the man above her is sheltering, not threatening. He also is grounded..  I'll put in some horizontal line to express the ground.  His head should be larger.  Should I change it?  I drew the head of the man larger at first.

With great abundant wackiness,

Then a friend asked me "How do you decide what to paint?" 
Here is my answer:

how are you deciding

That is a very good question.
The blank, white page is a bit intimidating.
I begin with a choice of brush and color (my bottles of tempera are so inviting),
and make a blob or streak; and go from there without thinking about it, that's the hard part.
Stewart reminded me to distinguish between thinking and feeling.
When I think "wacky" it's a bit judgmental
When I feel "wacky"  it's fun.

It was a similar question when I studied with Eleni Levidi in Boulder,  and wondered how to "decide" how to move my body.   Feeling the texture of the carpet in her studio invited an exploratory movement which felt "authentic" and I laughed for hours.

Feel free to post this:

Teri Viereck
Fairbanks, Alaska

Active Imagination Play at Week 1 with Alton Wasson by Elizabeth Reid

I wrapped the two colors of clay around my hand and placed it in the world

White and brown clay.
Ambivalence...  either/or.

Each person put their self designed lump of clay into the world.

The lovely lumps waited for action and connection.

Take chalk or crayon and play in the world.
Bright hues, hand and feet, swirls, mountains, trees, ponds and streams
Hearts, diamonds, silly shapes, and spirals.

Tell a story.
Line by line, word by word, image by image, projection next to projection.

Each lump becomes more and more owned
    with more and more self care
      and more and more permission
"notice what you notice"

    and less and less and slowly even more less critique
    and less and less and slowly even more less judgement
    and less and less and slowly even more less fear.

The story builds

from feet, roots, earth, water, air, fire, bones, fluids, pumps, fascia, nets, nerves, mind, wind, trees, old mountains, tapping, consciousness, unconsciousness, either/or, both/and, transcendence.

Which drawer of the chest will open for you today? 
What treasures will you find in that drawer?
What language does this part of yourself speak?
Is there something new today?

Today may offer a chance to go over it all again. 
To start from the beginning.
A repeat.

I wrapped the two colors of clay around my hand and placed it in the world

White and brown clay.
Ambivalence...  either/or.

Then in rolled a cat and purring.
A tribal nose to nose, forehead to forehead touch in the warm breeze. 
New news.

Reflection by Elizabeth Reid
Creative Form a group effort

Meeting Cassie Bull by Elizabeth Reid

It was hard to find a time we could both make, even though we were just over 10 miles away from each other. Cassie was persistent, even though she was just finishing a five day retreat that completed her year long training called Body Visible/Body Invisible. She had 25 participants. I asked her how she let people know about her program beyond her own web site. She said just our Authentic Movement Community Web site. I was touched and so happy to hear that using our events page was working so well for someone.
Her place is tucked among the high hills in Sonoma County between Healdsburg and Calistoga. A beautiful cradle-like environment, with many small building in various stages of renovation, surrounded us. My sister-in-law and I held each other's hands to feel safe as we walked on the uneven pathways. Cassie said the buildings were barracks in the 1940's, and then a school owned the place and leased it to Cassie and her husband for their Leap Now Gap Year program. The school sold it to them when the school disbanded. We saw a large kitchen and studio, a dorm that slept 8 and another studio. We met some of Cassie students, who were young and open and delightful.
The tour and Cassie gave us a feel for the laid back energy of the place. Cassie was immediately recognizable to me as someone who knew the same language I knew from my years of training, even though we studied with different people and in different parts of the country. When this happens for me I feel I am part of a tribe. It was late in life for me before I found a group that felt like home. When I hugged Cassie good bye, my sister-in-law said that my face was just beaming. It is always such a treat to find another retreat center lead by someone with what I consider authentic compassion and discernment. My dream is still to travel and meet everyone in our community. When I meet someone like Cassie, my dream comes true.

For more pictures of Cassie's campus setting, go here:
For a full description of her program go here:

Understanding a Trituration Involving Estrogen, with Help from the Unconscious By Alison J. Buck

Do we intuitively know things that we are not consciously aware of? I find myself wondering about this question, having practiced classical homeopathy, and also authentic movement for many years.

At a gathering with authentic movement peers in September of 2011, I wanted to delve into the question more deeply. So I designed and conducted a movement session based on something the movers were not consciously aware of, to see what would happen. I believe that what the movers expressed about their experiences did show they knew intuitively about things they were not aware of, consciously.

This finding alone is quite noteworthy, but it is not all that came to light. In addition, experiences were shared from the session that bear remarkable similarity to information arising one year earlier, at a homeopathic seminar in California, during the making of a homeopathic remedy. The structure of the authentic movement session, what was shared, and what similarities this information had with the remedy-making information, are what I want to reveal in this article.

First, a Little Background
During an October 2010 seminar, I participated with 15 other homeopaths in the initial stages of working with a substance that was pharmaceutically prepared to be “bio-identical” to estrogen. The plant sources (originally yam and soy) had been put through a process in the pharmacy that transformed them into several bio-identical forms of estrogen (estrone, estradiol, and estriol).

Since that 2010 seminar, I have been analyzing the large amount of information that came from the homeopaths’ work with the bio-identical estrogen forms. This initial stage of the remedy-making process is known by homeopaths as trituration. Not surprisingly, as I continue to organize the information related to this substance, I find myself much more ‘tuned-in’ to estrogen-related themes, both factual and symbolic in nature.

My heightened interest in estrogen found an unexpected outlet, when I reconvened in September 2011 with a small peer group of authentic movement facilitators, who have been occasionally holding retreats together since 2007. When we meet, we lead sessions for one another, and sometimes try out new and different ways of structuring the authentic movement sessions.

Doing authentic movement is like engaging in a moving form of meditation, or like active imagination that takes the form of movement. Over the years, I have used authentic movement to connect more deeply, from within my body and psyche, to the experiences that arise for me when I participate in homeopathic triturations. I actually allow my body to be moved by the energy, and my psyche to experience thoughts and feelings that arise, as I work with others doing the trituration. This helps me to feel more connected to the information that can present itself about the substance I am triturating. (For more on this, please link to

Wanting to work in an intuitive way with themes from estrogen, I thought about how to engage my peers in an authentic movement session for this purpose. It occurred to me that I could try an approach that would be, in a way, the reverse of the trituration process! So, instead of starting with an actual substance whose identity is unknown (as we usually do in a trituration), I could start by describing it, but not have any of the substance present.

I wondered if offering the name of the substance to this group of experienced authentic movers could be like offering an intention from which to begin a movement session. I would not be starting with the actual substance. But, would I be inviting things unconsciously known about it, or the remedy made from it, to enter into the consciousness of our collective group, through authentic movement?

A key point about this movement session was that none us fully understood the detail regarding bio-identical estrogen. At the time the movement session took place in September 2011, I had understood that what I triturated the previous October came from Mexican yam which had undergone a fermentation process. Another key point is that none of the other movers knew about homeopathic triturations.

What all of us in the movement session did have was an intrinsic understanding of estrogen, because all in this group are women. We also were familiar with estrogen, as it is conventionally portrayed. But none of the others had a perspective of estrogen as a homeopathically-prepared remedy.

The Authentic Movement Structure
Here is how I structured the authentic movement session: First I explained that I had made a substance into a homeopathic remedy, along with other homeopaths. I called the substance fermented Mexican yam (a.k.a. Dioscorea composita). I said it provides us with a plant source of estrogen. I went on to explain briefly what trituration is. I then said that I was curious about what experiences might unfold from doing an authentic movement session based on a simple question: “What is your connection or association with fermented Mexican yam, or estrogen?”

I invited the group members to do a 25-minute session of authentic movement. We would be outside in nature during the session. There would not be anyone specifically designated to witness during this time. Instead, each mover would also act as her own witness. I mentioned that there might be experiences on physical, emotional, thinking, or intuitive levels -- but, not necessarily. I also said that anyone could feel free to completely let go of the question during the session -- it did not need to be held in any particular way.

Following the 25-minute moving session, I offered 25 minutes for creative forming, and then 25 minutes for sharing in a group circle, where movers could choose to speak about their experiences during the movement session, as well as show what they had done during the creative forming time. We as a group would take a final 25 minutes to share our reflections on the session from an overview perspective.

What Was Shared Afterward
What the movers shared were their own, authentic expressions. In my opinion, these expressions are about being female, about plant estrogen, and about its healing potential. As I listened to them, I realized that some information had real connections to what came from the trituration experience. I write more about this in the section further on, called “How the Movement Session Compares to the Trituration.”

But now, here is what was shared by the movers, after the authentic movement session. As you read on, please note that references to Mexican yam or Dioscorea composita were because that is how I had referred to the substance. Though this identification is not exactly the same as what was triturated, keep in mind that there is something here to be learned about estrogen, and perhaps especially about this plant source of estrogen:

Mover 1.
“During my moving time, I carried the question with me about what is my relation to the Mexican wild yam. I experienced visions, it was as if I was ‘visioning.’ What I mean by that is, I was seeing things in frames. I laid down, to let myself dream. I felt really clear about it, about a vision I had in my mind. I tried to draw it, but did not finish it until later on, after starting my second drawing. What eventually came out was a drawing of the 6th chakra. I call it ‘Visioning.’ It was satisfying to do, but not quite what I envisioned when I was dreaming of the wild yam.”

“The second drawing I call ‘Portal (Opening to Look Through).’ It is a place through which to see something. It has ‘busty energy’ [energy that bursts through] on the sides. It’s both contained, and a looking through.”

“I used water colors for the third drawing, for a change. Its shapes and colors are appealing to me. It’s like a kidney -- the tubule of the kidney is there. I call this drawing ‘Nephron: From Nothing Comes Something.’ A whole lot of stuff is happening in a small, little place.”

Mover 2.
“I needed to snooze. I also went on the outdoor swing. I was not thinking about the question or the name of the thing. But I got a sense of ‘composite desire.’ That’s what came to me. So I made a drawing of it. I contemplated about the hours and hours of trituration, by everyone in the world -- actually, by all the women. In the drawing is a mushing-together of all the women’s heads. For me, ‘Desire’ is not just sexual desire. It’s also food, life, zest, fun...all mushed together! A composite of god. Then there are other layers that came out for me -- a green layer. I’d just started that drawing when the time was up.”

Mover 3.
“I am worried about estrogen, at my age -- to not lose the sexual vitality. I felt a loss when my period stopped. It was like a shutting down -- the first of the shutting down.”

“I call my first drawing ‘Party.’ It has a cellular kind of structure, and is about what’s going on in our uteruses -- and about the stuff under the microscope -- we know it is there, working all the time.

My second drawing is called, ‘What’s on the Table.’ It has the word ‘diet’ in it, and that reminds me: Oh yes...we need to have the diet!

I basically did not like this topic of ‘estrogen, and my connection with it.’ I have a love/hate relationship to the topic. But, I worked with it because the thing you least like, has the most to teach!”

Mover 4.
“At first I felt, I don’t know if I like this assignment. But then I got into it, through letting my body do whatever it was drawn to do. I made a drawing, that I call, ‘Vessel.’ And a poem came to me, that I call, ‘On Mexican Yams.’

I am glad to be done with periods. They were very difficult and painful for me, and I had endometriosis, and dealt with losing my ovaries. And now I am done with that. That feminine stuff, that important stuff!

I felt like roaring; it was a most satisfying thing for me. A lot of feeling was there, and I could have gone on roaring.”

Mover 5.
“As I move about, slowly walking, I am pondering: This feels like a familiar realm, that I don’t know. I find myself noticing the grass below. I sink down in my knees, lowering my hips and center of gravity, slowly moving my weight back and forth, between my deeply-planted feet. I see the grass, and the also the beautiful, September-blue sky. I see the blue sky mixed in with the green grass. And then I see lots of crawling things. All of it is like the back-drop of experience. Along with me walking, there are lots of other things happening... I just need to be, and take whatever is coming. It feels so nice to go barefoot.

I call my first drawing: ‘Being Rooted in the Grasses of Nature.’ It suggests what I envisioned as I slowly moved about, taking in the blueness of the sky, and noticing more and more details beneath my feet. My second drawing has to do with the other part of my experience. I placed myself in the picture, moving in relation to the nature that I was experiencing profoundly. That one I call, ‘In Tai Chi Mode.”

How the Movement Session Compares to the Trituration
Not surprisingly, many physical symptoms that came to light during the homeopathic trituration were related to the female reproductive organs. What surprised me from the movement session nearly a year after, was that similar symptoms would come to light.

Here is what one of the movers spoke about, after the movement session: “I am thinking about my daughter. Her belly button bleeds when she gets her period. She had fibroid tumors taken out. Some endometrial tissue was found, that traveled up the ligament that connects her uterus with the belly button. Recently she was also concerned she could have cancer, after a benign fibroadenoma was found in her left breast.”

I later asked this mover if her daughter has had children, and if not, whether she has wanted to have them. Her daughter has not had children, but strongly wanted them. A big part of the problem has been that she has not found a relationship that worked well enough to have children.

Hearing about the daughter's bleeding from her umbilicus reminded me of one of the triturators, who reported having an umbilical hernia after her work on the trituration. The same triturator reported that, over the course of the trituration process, she dreamed she had a large lump in her right breast that suddenly appeared. This strikes me as similar to the worry by the mover’s daughter, who was concerned she could have breast cancer.

Another of the triturators reported noticing what she originally thought were fibroadenomas in her right breast after participating in the trituration. They turned out to be eight cancerous tumors, that were estrogen-receptor positive. The same triturator wrote eloquently of deep, contractive, pain and grief from repeatedly experiencing some heavy emotional losses during her life. These losses were from abortions, a miscarriage, and the unexpected loss of her relationship. She spoke of wanting, but not being able to have, children. Here too, I am reminded of the mover’s daughter.

Yet another triturator reported aching in her right ovary. She added, “Perhaps it is the lost child. No support from the female side of family, or larger community.” I sense a possible resonance between the experience of this triturator and Mover 4’s sentiments, expressed through her physical symptoms, and her poem (at the end of this article).

There appear to be more connections between the trituration and the experiences of Mover 4. Several of the homeopathic triturators experienced markedly uncomfortable low back pain, and one had back pains that were decidedly related to the uterus and ovary issues she had in the past. Even before she took part in the trituration, she reported, “My back actually went out” and “at that time...I was very concerned, and the image of ovaries came to me. The synchronicity of what happened with my back seems to have started at that time, although the original displacement was when I was pregnant with my son."

Intermixed with a pelvic focus, there seem to be some notable synchronicities related to time and place. I get the sense of being in synchrony, falling out of synchrony, and coming back into synchrony, as I continue to read what this same triturator with the intense back symptoms wrote:

“I felt in rhythm, in cycle and just where I needed to be at that time. Coming away from [the trituration experience], I felt a sense of loss of connection to cycle, to source. Now back [home], where I have personally felt ‘at home’ since arrival, I also feel more in step and rhythm with my family -- which previously had been discordant, out of step, out of time and rhythm, and difficult. So this [trituration] has indeed taken me back to my centre, to my core, to my essence; I have been made to sit with myself and strip away all that is excess/unnecessary in my life, and pay attention to that which needs to be nourished, nurtured, rediscovered, revealed. I feel as if I have been reconfigured internally, almost re-wired back to that which I always have been, but that which found itself stuck, out of time with itself, in the rhythm of the world. I have come home -- much yet to unfold, but I feel strong, renewed, refreshed -- less struggle more flow.”

I again see notable connections between this triturator’s words and the words from Mover 4, as well as to Mover 5’s sense of center coming from her pelvis. This must certainly be a natural, physical focus for estrogen!

Other Comparisons
While I have mentioned the most striking comparisons between the experiences of authentic movers and triturators, there are more I can mention. For example, one of the triturators reported passing a kidney stone about 2 months after the trituration had concluded. Another reported intermittent pain from the kidney area, several weeks following the trituration. So I find it very interesting that Mover 1’s drawing, called ‘Nephron: From Nothing Comes Something,’ was like a kidney to her, in which a lot happens in a very small space. It also prompts me to consider possible symbolic analogies we might make between kidneys and ovaries.

There are many more comparisons that can be drawn, and I invite readers to consider them, upon further reflection. (Take for example “insider/outsider,” recognized as an important theme by some of the triturators: Due to a blood condition caused by a parasite, one of our movers was ill and unable to attend that September weekend, and thus became like an “outsider” to the rest of us.) But for the purpose of this article, I hope the point is clear: It is possible to draw upon what our unconscious minds may bring to light, in order to better understand and learn from what surrounds us, and what we experience. A highly fruitful way to open ourselves to what may come our way is through the practice of authentic movement, and this practice can verify the authenticity of what we may discover through homeopathic triturations.

Final Gleanings
What more can we take away from this session in which the movers were invited to see what connections they might have with estrogen from a plant source, which also has been triturated by homeopaths? Let us look again to the movers for some insights. For two movers there was a sense of aversion, and in one a sense of ambivalence, about doing this movement session. But from those very movers a transformation came about, into something more profound:

  • From a love/hate relation with estrogen, to a knowing that what we least like has the most to teach us.
  • From resistance to connecting with estrogen as an assignment, to a satisfying feeling of post-menopausal freedom and power.
  • From simply snoozing and not thinking about possible connection to the substance, to a sense that we as women form a composite picture of all desire -- food, life, zest, fun, as well as sex.

Ultimately, I see great possibility in the use of authentic movement to help homeopaths better understand the results we gather from triturations -- both specific symptoms, and general themes that are in play. I encourage experimenting with using authentic movement, and adding it to the current approaches of triturations and meditative provings. This can result in deepening our understanding of how a homeopathically prepared remedy can potentially support the natural process of healing.

I close with the poem from Mover 4, which I feel is a wonderful example of the imagery that rose from the unconscious mind, in relation to estrogen (which we called Mexican yam):

On Mexican Yams

It was a time of the Mexican yam and I am on the edge of creating...
It was a time of estrogen and I am well-beyond ovaries and carrying potential within.

And yet -- I can create externally now...

I am the fecundity in a marigold
and flowering broccoli in the gardens.
I am the flow of a watery stream
running off the clay vase, made fountain.
I am stillness drinking in the sun.
I am the warrior -- slicing -- protecting.
I am the roaring lion-fiercely sounding out
to an [American] culture devouring the children.
I am one half-
one pole-
one side.

In the coolness, I rock.
Waters shift gently within.
I am a silent prayer for life
No longer between hips-but in
the world-wide mother.
I am of Her.

My vessel is She.
It is bigger and more beautiful
than all of time and space.
She is my estrogen,
My Mexican yam.

Meg said....

What a lovely and insightful piece of work this is, Alison!

Thanks so much for sharing........ Would love to reconnect if you have time; it's been a long time since our seminar together in Vermont, I think it was? This is Meg from Maine. If you'd like to connect, just get my email from Ruthe or check me out at Maine Association of Homeopaths' website.
A very thought provoking piece of work, here. Really enjoyed reading. =:D

Apr 4, 2012 08:08 AM

Anonymous said.....

Dearest Allison:
Thank you for the incredible testament of your work and the effort to put it into a piece we all can honor and reflect on. There is much richness here and much to offer to continued studies with your combined modalities. I hope you will continue your explorations. Thank you for this gift.

Apr 8, 2012 07:55 AM

Germaine Fraser said....

Alison, I so appreciate your thinking outside the box creativity here, especially in relation to a "science-based" subject. So interesting. Keep up this needed relationship and expansive approach!

Apr 8, 2012 01:40 PM

Angela said....

Thanks so much for this insight into the unconscious themes of estrogen. I enjoyed seeing those beautiful pictures and reflecting on the words and conversations we had over the trituration weekend. Warmly

Apr 10, 2012 01:53 AM

Winter Retreat, Westfield, MA Feb 2012

 "Under the depths of my compost pile there is an even deeper source of light, hope, sprouting new growth."  Ann Hooke

Kathy Chowanec:


"Prismic Hair"

 Ann McGinty:

 "It turns our she is everywhere."


Kathryn Kollar:
Body Sandwich