Enjoy reading about the wonderful community that has developed around this annual event.

March 09, 2017

Announcing Our 2017 Event Theme: Alchemy
Category: 2017 Event, Event Themes, News


  • a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.
  • the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

Every moment of our lives has the potential for transformation. And deep within every one of us there lives an inner alchemist, who holds the power and secret knowledge to unlock that potential and bring about positive change.

Alchemy is commonly known as the ancient quest to turn lead into gold, or to discover the elixir of eternal life. Today the alchemic tradition lives on in every endeavor to make something out of nothing, or to take the seemingly mundane – and even utterly tragic – events of our lives and turn them into something remarkable. It lives on in the understanding that our lives matter to more than just ourselves, and that our actions can have impacts that outlast our physical existence on this planet. And it lives on in the discovery that we all can be more powerful than we know.

Modern-day alchemists come in all shapes and sizes, can be found in all walks of life, and work miracles great and small. Some may have spent years perfecting their craft, while others are just awakening to the fact that they are agents of change. Their motives and methods may be spiritual or scientific; artistic or mechanical; personal, professional, or societal; or a special combination of various elements. Above all, alchemists understand that the two elements that are crucial to alchemic transformation are inspiration and action, and they know how to harness the unique chemical reaction set off when the two are combined.

Habitual practitioners of alchemy are the people who refuse to be the victims of life’s circumstances, and constantly seek the lessons in every situation. They overcome obstacles, subjective in size, but not in the act of overcoming them, with the understanding that we often cannot change situations, but that we can change how we respond to them.

They may seem clairvoyant, not because they can actually see the future, but because they recognize beauty in the ordinary, and potential where others don’t, and work to reveal that beauty and potential to the world.

They are the catalysts that drive social evolution: the activists, educators, and innovators who see the possibility of a better world and devote their lives to the pursuit of that vision, and whose collective contribution throughout history has reshaped our societies.

In a world of complacency, alchemists are the change-makers. But they will only be truly successful alchemists if we let them, through the example of their actions, transform our understanding of ourselves, and awaken us to the knowledge that we all can be – that we all ARE – alchemists, too.

Alchemy is the theme of TEDxMtHood this year. On October 7, we will explore all the components of alchemy, with speakers sharing their own stories of how they have learned how to harness its transformative power and use it to bring about awesome changes in their own lives and in those of others. Come join us for a day of seemingly magical transformation and creation!

Annie Galen

Annie Galen is an apprentice carpenter in Portland, Oregon, where she has lived since 2004. She has a colorful past that includes hiding people from the Mafia, being a cowgirl in Italy, and chicken herding, which has made her a great storyteller. When Annie is not studying for school or writing for TEDxMtHood, you can find her on her yoga mat, enjoying the outdoors in-and-around Portland, or having a beer with friends. She also enjoys long walks off short piers and creating confused silences.