Creating Temenos in the Classroom

Relational Encounter and the Subtle Alchemy of Transformation


  • Gianna Di Rezze University of Toronto


The following article describes the interplay of self-knowledge and relational knowing in the co-creation of the classroom temenos. A nurturing classroom temenos is a particular quality of relational space which may be experienced by students as a place where they are safe, seen, heard and accepted. The greater temenos of the classroom is shaped and in-formed by teachers’ cultivation of their own inner temenos through mindful practices which can help build capacity for relationship. In this article I borrow alchemical language and processes to describe my experience of the relational temenos. I use select personal narratives and two key symbolic images to describe how this embodied knowledge of self and other might allow students and teachers to become more fully themselves. I suggest that it is in this invisible but existent intersubjective space or  “innermost layer” (Aoki, 1988, p. 20) of teaching where the potential for transformation and future well-being might be found.




How to Cite

Di Rezze, G. . (2020). Creating Temenos in the Classroom: Relational Encounter and the Subtle Alchemy of Transformation . Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 32(2), 37–48. Retrieved from