In this article, Faerie talks about preverberations: the ripples that hit you in the days or weeks before a workshop takes place. Warning: there’s some woo-woo in here but it’s worth reading anyway.
I’ve been leading workshops for around 5 years now, and during that time I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon I’d like to talk about. I coined a word to describe it: preverberations, the ripples that hit you in the days or weeks before an event happens. They are basically the reverberations that come before, rather than after, the thing has taken place.
Let me start by illustrating this with a few examples. These are adapted slightly from real stories people have told me, with names and some details changed to protect people’s identities.
As he’s about to go to a workshop exploring intimacy and connection, Jack notices situations arising with his partner Paul around communication and boundaries. These are similar to issues they’ve had in their relationship before, but for the 3 or 4 days before the workshop they’re more pronounced and obvious.
Philippa starts to feel ill a week before a workshop exploring BDSM as a form of healing. The sickness comes on suddenly, without any warning. It’s so bad she has no choice but to rest: for 5 days straight in fact, unusual for her. She wonders if she picked up that bug that was going round the office. In particular she notices that her chest is dense with phlegm and her nose is constantly streaming.
For the month running up to his plant medicine ceremony, Peter’s life starts to fall apart. He has to move house at short notice, so he moves in with his partner. They row constantly and intensely, and he notices some of his least desirable tendencies – his bad temper, his impatience, his self-centredness – are the worst they’ve been for years. He can’t understand why this is happening, especially as he consciously reduced his workload during this month to ensure he’d be in good shape for the ceremony.
Over the years I’ve heard scores of these stories, enough for me to set aside any skepticism I might’ve had and take a good look at what might be happening here.
I’m going first to explain this in a very woo-woo way (i.e. using spiritual concepts), because to me this is the best way to understand preverberations. Later in the article I’ll give a slightly different, more psychological explanation of how it might work. Whether you’re a believer or skeptic I encourage you to look at both and see what you think.
To look at it from a spiritual perspective, we need to understand the notion of an energetic field. In the context of a workshop or ceremony, this is a non-physical ‘environment’ created by the facilitators and participants of the workshop in collaboration with the Universal Intelligence that runs through everything. (I much prefer this term to “God/dess” or anything more loaded and personal.)
The field of a workshop is the thing that’s behind or beneath it: the invisible force that holds it and makes amazing things happen inside it. The field is the Universal Intelligence in dialogue with a specific context – in this case, a workshop. It’s a bunched up bit of All That Is, gathered for our benefit when we come to participate in this thing we call a workshop.
Fields are, by their nature, hard to describe. You’ll hear people say things like “trust the field”, “it’s in the field” or “did you feel the shift in the field?” Everything and everyone has a field: for example, when a person with a particularly strong field comes into the room, you can feel the effect of it on the atmosphere (the group’s field) and on the fields of each individual present.
So this is an energetic field. When it comes to a workshop, the field is often a powerful thing, as by their nature workshops invoke permission and possibility and invite transformation and healing. In order for those things to happen, we need support from beyond the physical realm, so the field needs to be strong. Also, in general facilitators are people who work with intention – and a powerful intention creates a powerful field.
The creation of a field happens at many levels, conscious and unconscious, in the run-up to a workshop. As a facilitator, I might think that I know exactly what I’m doing, what type of event I’m creating and what my intention is. If I think that I’m a fool, because the Universal Intelligence has its own plans that I’m probably not aware of. In addition, the field contains things I can’t see about myself (my shadow) and is actively engaged with everyone who’s attending or even thinking about attending the workshop.
So a workshop field, like any field, is a dynamic thing, evolving in dialogue with the stakeholders of the event – and of course the Intelligence that’ll help us get what we need (and sometimes more than we bargained for) from the experience.
Once you get your head round the idea of an energetic field, preverberations emerge as quite an obvious effect of approaching a specific field. A field is not local to a place, but rather encompasses the event and the people engaged with it. As the event is scheduled to take place at a specific time, preverberations tend to happen in the run-up to an event: usually 7 to 10 days before, sometimes a little longer.
(From my experience working with plant medicines, this can actually be up to 3 months ahead of the ceremony itself. However for workshops it’s mostly 7-10 days.)
These preverbs are a dynamic process happening with you and in you as your field and the field of the workshop come into contact with one another. Often the workshop field is preparing you – as in the example of Jack above, where certain things relating to the workshop start to come up more vividly. At other times the preverbs are more mysterious – as in the case of Peter – and it isn’t until long after the event that it becomes clear why things unfolded the way they did.
Although there are definite patterns to these preverberations, it is unwise to try too hard to make sense of them or force them to mean a specific thing. Life is a beautiful and complex mystery, whether we like it or not – and often it’s better to recognise the preverbs as what they are and not try too hard to understand their meaning.