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ISSN 1757-1715

the knowing field Price 15/18

I N T E R N AT I O N A L C O N S T E L L AT I O N S J O U R N A L

JANUARY2014
ISSUE2323JANUARY
ISSUE 2014
the knowing field I N T E R N AT I O N A L C O N S T E L L AT I O N S J O U R N A L

Initially founded as the Systemic Solutions Bulletin by Barbara Stones and Jutta ten Herkel, the Knowing Field is
currently the only international English-language journal available on constellation work. In each issue, you will
find articles representing a broad spectrum of how Constellation Work is moving throughout the world. Articles
are published from long time leaders in the field as well as newcomers. From deep philosophical and scientific
discussions, to practical tips and techniques, to soul stirring stories of healing breakthroughs, you will enter a
radically inclusive space that helps shine a light on the professional practice of Constellation Work as well as the
mysteries that continue to surprise, confound and humble all involved in this work.

As you read through this journal, you will see there is something of interest for everyone involved with constellations.
Many facilitators and trainers of this work, some of whom are quite isolated geographically, find the journal a great
source of nourishment and education. We hope you do too.
This journal will be produced as
a PDF only from now on. If you
far as possible match the house style wish to explore the possibility
EDITOR
of this journal including references, of doing your own printing
authors notes etc. Consultative locally please liaise with the
Barbara Morgan assistance is available from one of the Editor first re possibilities.
Editorial team in the pre-submission
CORE EDITORIAL & stage of writing, if requested.
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Colette Green copyright covers the exclusive right of All names of clients and incidental details
Sebastian Green The Knowing Field to translate, reprint, have been changed to respect confidentiality.
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been used to cover both genders unless
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needing translation. Articles should be
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2
CONTENTS

the knowing field


Contributor Article Page

Barbara Morgan Editorial........................................................................................................................................ 4


Bert Hellinger The End....................................................................................................................................... 6

In the Spotlight
David Presswell In Conversation with Judith Hemming........................................................................................ 7
Francesca Mason Boring In Conversation with Tanja Meyburgh....................................................................................... 13
Janos Szabo In Conversation with Dr Arnold Polivka..................................................................................... 19

New Developments
Sarah Peyton Getting to Know the Embodied Brain: The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Constellation Work....22
Olav Drageset The Field & The Mind in the Light of Physics............................................................................ 27

Constellations
Emerson Bastos Five Elements Constellations.................................................................................................... 31
Sharon Ruvane Kids Constellations.................................................................................................................... 35
Francesca Mason Boring A Remarkable Constellation...................................................................................................... 39

Personal Reflections
Max Dauskardt Contemplating Conscience....................................................................................................... 42
Lisa Iversen & Kate Regan Reflections on the US Systemic Constellations Conference..................................................... 46
Indra Torsten Preiss Putting a Finger on the Problems of Traditional Family Constellations..................................... 51

History of Nations, Cultures & Religions


Aurel Mocanu A Sea of Uncried Tears.............................................................................................................. 55

Reports On Conferences & Intensives


Various Contributors The US Conference & Intensive 2013........................................................................................ 60
Janet Hermann Intensive Kloster Bernried, Germany May 2013........................................................................ 62
Angelika Schenk Visit to China............................................................................................................................. 63

Book Reviews
Colette Green Conceptual Constellations by Joy Mann PhD......................................................................... 65
Nancy Kehr Returning to Membership in Earth Community
edited by Ken Sloan & Francesca Mason Boring...................................................................... 67

Poem
Jan Crawford A Consenting Adult: White Lies................................................................................................. 69

3
Editorial

Having made a decision last time to time for me to take my leave and now constellation work with the children
step down from the Editorship of The here I am back in the Editors seat! in her school. This section ends
Knowing Field I waited for responses with a report from Francesca Mason
from people to see if anyone was We have some interesting Boring on an innovative approach
ready and willing to pick up the baton. conversations in our In the Spotlight towards a constellation demonstrated
This process was very illuminating for series this time: Judith Hemming at the Conference in Acapulco,
me as I saw how many people were addresses the all-important question Mexico in September 2013 by Cecilio
willing to offer support but no-one was of the use of sentences with David Regojo very thought-provoking.
ready to take over full ownership. Presswell and how the simplicity of one
statement can provide a lasting imprint Regular contributor Max Dauskardt
Not yet ready for the complete demise for a client, of their constellation. sets us thinking again in the
of this journal which I had put so much Tanja Meyburgh talks to Francesca Personal Reflections section as he
time and energy into over the past Mason Boring about her experiences re-considers Bert Hellingers writing
ten years, I considered other options. of working with constellations in South about Conscience and challenges
After some time, I decided for now to Africa and this countrys links to the some of the confusing language of
continue producing it as pdf only, which work of Bert Hellinger who spent this groundbreaking discovery about
would reduce my time and expenditure, so much time there with the Zulus. the effects of our need to belong. I
to see if this would work for me and Finally, Janos Szabo once again brings have decided to put the reflections
for the constellations readership. Hungary firmly on to the constellations on the US Conference from Lisa
After publicising my decision I have map with an interview with Dr. Arnold Iversen and Kate Regan into the
received one or two offers to take over Polivka about his work with his wife. Personal Reflections section, as, whilst
the ownership. I will be in discussion acknowledging the enormity of putting
with these people between now and Following a scintillating presentation on such a conference and the excellent
the next issue and we will see what at the Intensive in Bernried last job the organisers did, they are at
transpires beyond that. This is still a year, Sarah Peyton agreed to write the same time bravely challenging
time of transition and unknowing. something for the journal on her work American facilitators and indeed all
with the Embodied Brain under our of us with a history of colonialism,
It has also been a time of transition heading New Developments and in to begin to look more deeply at our
in terms of Bert Hellinger who was this article she manages to put into possible blind spots around this difficult
reported to be seriously ill at the a highly accessible language this issue. Most interesting for me was how
time of his last Sciencia camp in complex research into the workings powerful the field can be when we are
November. Wondering if this issue of our brain and its capacity for dealing with controversial issues and
would have to be published without change. Staying in the field of how I, as Editor, can become caught
any contribution from Bert, I have scientific research and discovery, in the field sometimes without realising
only a few days ago heard that he is Olav Drageset draws on non-physical it until afterwards: an example of how
alive and well and whats more, he phenomena and string theory as one powerful the field can be when we are
has sent me a short piece for this possible explanation for some of what
the knowing field

dealing with controversial subjects


issue. His previous contribution was happens within constellation work. and the pervasive nature of systemic
named Taking our Leave and this one issues. Talking of controversial
is also appropriately named The End. In the Constellations section this
subjects, Franz Rupperts ongoing
In a strange way the life of this journal time, Emerson Bastos offers us
criticisms of Traditional Family
seems to be paralleling that of Bert an integration of his work with the
Constellation work are once again
Hellinger in that I was pretty clear it was theory of the Five Elements and
discussed, this time by Indra Torsten
Constellations whilst Sharon Ruvane
Preiss who challenges all of us to
writes about her experiences of using
4
the knowing field
examine what we are doing and come brought together by Francesca Mason
up with a definition of what traditional Boring and Ken Sloans book Returning
family constellations actually are. to Membership in Earth Community:
Systemic Constellations with Nature,
Moving on to the History of Nations, automatically include nature as
Romania is put on the constellations an integral part of life itself and sit
map for the first time within the journal nature constellations firmly alongside
with a stirring contribution from Aurel family constellations, reminding us
Mocanu who vividly describes some of that being in harmony with the earth
the history of this deeply traumatised affects everything else in our lives.
yet beautiful country and its people.
Jan Crawfords stirring poem seems
As can be seen in the article from to me to convey more powerfully
Lisa and Kate, the US Conference than straight language ever can the
triggered some strong emotions depth of feelings around inclusion,
Cover Image
in people, so I am pleased to also exclusion, belonging, colonialism and
include two very positive responses racism. This is the beauty of poetry
to it in our Reports section from for me. We find our own meaning with Collage depicting:
Kristin Bourquist and Maria Gossens it or we simply let it touch our souls
who write in particular about their without need for meaning-making. The ancient ruins of the Dacian
experiences of the Maori ceremony. temples from Sarmizegetusa
Maria also offers her thoughts on I hope you enjoy finding your way Regia, the capital of Dacia,
the heart-opening experience of the through these articles. One of the the original Romania.
Intensive held in Connecticut earlier advantages of pdf only is that topical
in the year. Still with the Reports issues can be discussed almost The Precucuteni Clay
Section, Janet Hermann gives us immediately after publication. For a Figures 4900-4750 BC (the
a vivid picture of how the annual long time we had a Knowing Field Goddesses Gathering)
Intensive held at Kloster Bernried in forum for such discussion, but it
Other neolithic clay figurines
the south of Germany continues to was seldom used. Maybe the online
of Goddeses from Dacia.
provide nourishment for the soul on so group Constellationtalk is the place
many levels. Also in this section, it is for such discussion or we can set up Submitted by Claudiu Hutanu
some time since we had a contribution one again exclusively for the journal. Photo Design SRL
from China, so it is refreshing to be Do let us know your preferences.
reminded by Angelika Schenk that
constellation work is developing Once again my grateful thanks to my
well in that part of the world. advisory team, authors, friends and
subscribers for their ongoing support.
We have two book reviews in this
issue. Colette Green describes Joy Barbara Morgan
Manns second book in her series The
Constellated Field entitled Conceptual
Constellations, endorsing the value
of Joys use of myth and story in
constellation work, whilst Nancy Kehr
describes how the various contributors
5
PHOTO LUBOSH CECH
The End Bert Hellinger

Because everything we know has an end, we until something is fully completed, continuing elsewhere. Or
await the end. Sometimes we expect it in terror, it may even dissolve into the infinite from whence it came.
but often it comes as a relief finally it is over. Would this be an end? Would this be pure fulfilment?

With the end, on the one hand something ceases, Rilke writes about this in his Sonnets to
we cannot complete it. On the other hand, this end is Orpheus, Part Two, number 13:
fulfilled. It is accomplished; nothing can be added to it.
Advance beyond all farewells as though they were,
Is everything over with the end? With the end of our life,
like this departing winter, already accomplished.
for instance?
For among winters looms one so endlessly winter
Much of what we have achieved in our lives will go that hearts embracing winter, alone, endure unvanquished.
on after our end: in our offspring, through insight
and accomplishments that have benefited others In Eurydice live ever dead rise more joyfully,
and that continue to serve them as their lives go
singing into the pure accord with boundless praising.
on. Are we still personally present in these lives,
so that we ourselves gain something when our Here, within declines rapidly fading country,
life continues in them? Is this conceivable? be as a ringing glass that shatters when it rings.

When we dream of this, what happens to us? Where


does our gaze go? Are we being completed through Be at the same time knowing the realm of non-being,
those who carry on with something of ours? Does that infinite ground of your own intimate oscillating,
our completion depend on them? In a certain way, in order, once, to fully contain the eternal fount.
yes. Moreover, we also dont just live our life as if it
belonged to us, like a personal possession, we also
carry on with something and complete it for others. To all the shopworn, musty, mute and glum
debris of natures stockpile, the numberless sum,
My image is: beyond each individual life, all life belongs
joyfully add yourself and cancel the count.
to a movement in which everything is indivisibly one with
the knowing field

everything else; from its beginning, if there were such


a thing, to its preliminary end, when it makes room for
something new, something that builds on it and carries it on. Translation by Robert Hunter (1993)

Perhaps our personal life also carries on in some other (http://www.hunterarchive.com/files/


way, for instance, through being born anew, carrying on Poetry/SonnetsToOrpheus.html)

6
the knowing field
David Presswell in conversation with Judith Hemming

This conversation took place in London in October 2013

The Power of Naming:


The Use of Language in Constellations

Judith Hemming has been pioneering the use of systemic approaches in


family, education, organisational and wider social systems for 20 years. She
coaches and runs workshops and trainings for individuals, as well as commercial
and public sector organisations, large and small. Working internationally,
she has pioneered the development of the constellating process in a variety
of family and larger systems.Under the title: moving constellations she
has worked with a team of family and organisational constellators, providing
scheduled and bespoke workshops and trainings, but more recently she
has focused on working on her own. Judith teaches, leads seminars and
supports research activity into some of the most pressing issues of our
time for CSISS (Centre for the Sturdy of Intimate & Social Systems) now re-
formed as CSC (Centre for Systemic Constellations). She has also co-founded
ecl: nowhere foundation Enhancing Childrens Learning programme.

judith@movingconstellations.com
www.movingconstellations.com

Over the past 10 years David has


participated in many constellations led
beauty with implications for movement
and action. I saw people fascinated
I have come to
by some of its leading practitioners, by the miracle of representative see myself as a
including Bert Hellinger himself. In that perception, which of course is a
time he has been particularly struck miracle, but which Id perhaps already
kind of translator:
by Judith Hemmings emphasis on the absorbed from my background in moving things
use of sentences and the elegance Gestalt. What I found more fascinating
with which she crafts them. David was the forensic task of taking people from the implicit
went to meet Judith in her North
London home to find out more
from a repetitive place back into
movement through the discovery of
part of the mind to
a freeing and constructive narrative. the more explicit
David: As a constellator, you have a
reputation for giving representatives David: Dont the movements and through language.
very precise sentences to say. images within a constellation
Have you always done this? do that anyway?

Judith: When I first went to the original Judith: Yes, frequently they do. There when the constellator says something
German Intensive at Zist1 I discovered are some images in constellations about them: gives them a form that
that, although we students could which are profoundly moving without makes them less fleeting, mediates
describe problems, we werent so language. At least, they happen within them for the audience and provides
strong at providing sentences that the constellation without language. But the client with a coherent narrative
turned those problems into things of they often become more extraordinary that can be profoundly settling.
7
This might happen in a mostly silent with her saying: I dont know what what it was like to feel remorse and
constellation but, in my experience, it Im doing here, that it really hit me. take back anything that rightfully
often doesnt. Issue-holders can have She had sort of sleep-walked into belonged with them. All this was done
extraordinary, dazzling experiences, something that was nothing to do in silence, and then discussed.
but they still may not be able to send with her: she didnt recognise it, she
those images from the right to the couldnt get out of it, and she was I then gave the As some sentences
left brain the place where they can paralysed. For me, it was as if a door to try: I knowingly injured you by (for
think about the next thing that needs had opened and light rushed in. That example) lying and taking something
to happen. So I have come to see single sentence has reverberated down of yours that wasnt mine... I can see
myself as a kind of translator: moving the decades of my life since then. that it hurt you... I will carry the guilt
things from the implicit part of the for that... Im very sorry some of
mind to the more explicit, through those very simple, incontrovertible,
language. Once things are explicit subject/object clarifications. The
perpetrator said these, and then both
they have more manoeuvrability.
If a representative partners described their experience.
David: In what ways is this
different from what you see
comes up with I next asked each pair to move into
other constellators doing? sentences that work, fours so that the perpetrators could
say the same sentences again, but
Judith: I see many constellators who I wont replace them this time with two people witnessing
have found their own ways to do this,
but its a hard one to learn or teach.
with mine. But, on what was said. And, without exception,
everyone described a mounting
I attended a training constellation the whole, people sense of depth and resonance and
group recently where it became clear power at each stage. The naming of
to me that something was going come up with the these dynamics the saying of such
on in a confusion of representative raw materials for unbearably embarrassing things as:
movements, without anyone being I played with you crosses a sort
able to articulate what it meant. The sentences rather of Rubicon which, when witnessed,
students hoped that, out of those
movements, some form of resolution
than those very amplifies and intensifies the experience
further. So it clarified for me that
would emerge. And, it sort of did. But, lucid, limpid ones there is a role for spoken sentences
for the client, it was difficult to know in constellations and, if you can
what use she could make of it. She that resonate. find a way of holding them in their
didnt know how to understand this simplicity, they become indelible.
kind of confusion or what to do with
it. Afterwards I asked the facilitator David: Ive witnessed sentences
and the group what kind of language youve offered doing precisely that,
David: But thats an example
interventions might have clarified the but then they seem to be exactly
of the representative saying
process. They were silent, as if the the right sentence for both the
something, not of the constellator
question was simply not one their representative and the issue-holder,
providing the sentence.
training had helped them consider. That however unexpected or difficult to
concerns me because its one of my Judith: Yes, and if a representative say. How are you achieving this?
political beliefs that I want to shorten comes up with sentences that
Judith: One key thing is that they
the period of time in which a client is work, I wont replace them with
move the players from expressing
professionally dependent on somebody mine. But, on the whole, people
secondary feelings to the power and
else. And, with one-off interventions like come up with the raw materials for
resonance of primary feelings. The
constellations, I want the experience to sentences rather than those very
world is full of secondary feelings,
carry a density of information so that it lucid, limpid ones that resonate.
secondary anger in particular.
can go on being unpacked for years.
I remember one year at Bernried 2 There are an enormous number of
unpleasant, cruel, destructive, angry
the knowing field

The very first constellation I ever when I offered a morning presentation


experienced as a client, back in 1992, on language and I asked people to sentences between people which,
had my mother in it saying: I dont sit opposite each other. One member when you translate them into primary
know what Im doing here. I just dont of each pair (A) was to think of a way sentences, are appreciative, beautiful,
know. If I had simply watched the in which they had injured somebody, touching, humbling, acknowledging
representative, Id certainly have seen and the other (B) was to represent or apologising. It can mark a turn-
something that looked a bit like my the injured party. I suggested the around of massive proportions.
mothers behaviour, but it was only perpetrator (A) should then sense
8
the knowing field
David: Can you give me an example? shifts, as I did that with you, and this who were very wedded to either their
pointed to action which is more costly victim or their perpetrator status.
Judith: Well, a lot of the anger that to you than just sitting and despising. And it seemed to me that the more
people feel towards their parents or that people dug into those positions,
teachers, for instance, is because its David: But some people are and the more they rallied supporters
too painful for them to recognise how perpetrators, arent they? They who pitied them or championed
little they themselves are and how really have done terrible things. them, the weaker they became.
much they owe that person; or how And some people are victims.
fortunate they are and how burdened So for me the crucial question, the
the other is. If, for instance, you were to Judith: Of course there are situations divider, became: Does this intervention
think of someone youre annoyed with in which people literally have no make you weaker or does it make you
at the moment, give me a sentence control over what is done to them, stronger? I am always looking for how
for what angers you about them? so in that sense and at that moment to give people perpetrating energy and
they are victims. But the danger is that to help them recognise the payoff in
David: Im thinking of a fellow living a life based on being a victim is being a victim. Its a pitiless position to
pupil of my fifteen year old son one in which you can unconsciously take. A lot of psychotherapy is based
who is badly treating him. live out being the perpetrator. on pity and pity keeps therapists
strong and clients weak, whereas I
Judith: So, imagine you were to Its one of the things Bert Hellinger
will do and say everything I can to
come face-to-face with him, what showed me: everything we hate
give people a feeling of strength,
would you want to say? What and we shun, we engage with and
because strength leads to action and
would summarise your anger? become. Its an extraordinarily powerful
action takes people back into life.
human dynamic. The only way to
David: I despise your meanness. lessen that is to give victims back
an awareness of their perpetrating
Judith: OK. Now instead, just imagine
energy and to help perpetrators feel I love words. I
saying to this boy: I have no idea
what you struggle with in your life
the perpetrators behind them those always have. I love
who have narrowed their sights and,
and in your family. What happens?
in a sense, made them victims. When the magic of what
David: It softens me a little makes
it more difficult for me to judge him.
we do this, the difference between
victims and perpetrators begins to
they can do, and I
shrink. You concentrate victims on am very conscious
Judith: And then imagine saying to where they have manoeuvrability to
him: My son and I will learn to live act, and you help perpetrators to of how dreadful they
creatively and in equality with you
through the challenges you provide.
face the source of their perpetrating are when formulaic.
energy, seeing it as a loyalty, a love
Thats our task. What happens? and an entanglement a victimised
position as well. So that youre left
David: I suppose it moves me from
with people facing the consequences David: But they have to
blaming him and making it his
of what theyve done, but no longer be the right words.
problem, to it becoming more of an
in a world which is divided into
opportunity for me and my son.
people who are either good or bad. Judith: They do. And I take as much
Judith: Yes. And are you now able care as I can that they are. I love
David: Isnt that basically words. I always have. I love the magic
to switch back to the despising?
blaming the victim? of what they can do, and I am very
David: Theres still some anger conscious of how dreadful they are
Judith: No its not. Its telling victims
there, but no, its harder. when formulaic. At the beginning, when
that certain things happened which
I had my list of sentences Id learned
Judith: Right. So, you can think of hurt and were terrible, and then asking:
from Bert, I used them and some of
secondary feelings as ones that keep What is there now to do so that you
them were amazing and a lot of them
you weak and victimised and not dont waste the rest of your life?
fell flat. And then other sentences
having to take action, and primary were sort of given to me somehow,
For me, these ideas had particular
ones as focusing on your strength and I struggled and found them
power because Id been in the world
and your capacity to act and your and they probably were a bit inept.
of psychotherapy for long enough
willingness to give and take within But throughout I have appreciated
to see that sympathy, after a while,
a bigger system. I also imagine that the power of the right words.
was a poor intervention. Id also been
you could actually feel a bodily set of
brought up in a family of individuals

9
in a way that the conventional way of I want to make sure theres enough
describing experiences simply didnt. reality. So, for instance, there are many
Ten Tips for But, when they did, when what was euphemisms we employ to manage life,
forming really happening was how it was whether its saying collateral damage
known by the world, the coherence instead of murder or falling asleep
Constellation allowed a great weight to drop away. instead of dying, all of which distance
Sentences David: The power of naming?
us from direct experience. So Im
looking for language that takes us into
the visceral heart of things. Ill suggest
1. Keep the language Judith: The power of naming. Yes.
that a representative says: I killed you
simple and concise. Its become the torch Ive developed
rather than I arranged for an abortion
out of my personal experience.
or He told me to get an abortion or
2. Avoid jargon and Because, when the name and the
An abortion happened. Im always
euphemism. thing itself slide into connection, get
looking for sentences to move out
superimposed perfectly, they can be
3. Use I rather than let go of. And what I am trying to do is
You so as to establish to de-clutter the field in which people
personal responsibility. live so that they can come into the
present where everything is fresh and
What I am trying to
4. Turn complaints into
wishes: I resent you to I
new, and can properly be dealt with. do is to de-clutter
long for your recognition. Constellations give us an opportunity the field in which
5. Representative language
to create this exact fit. And, for me,
language is the tool par excellence for
people live so that
should be direct but
respectful, and always
doing that: achieving a coherence that they can come
means there is less unsorted baggage
spoken calmly.
to carry, and the less we carry the into the present
6. Cut long sentences more energy we have for now which where everything
into shorter phrases. is my definition of good health.
is fresh and new,
7. Use tautologies in order to David: In crafting sentences
clarify the reality: I am your which achieve this, are there and can properly
parent. You are my child. any rules of thumb you apply?
be dealt with.
8. Use juxtaposition Judith: I have some basic rules of
in order to highlight thumb, some of which come from my
where contradictions Gestalt background and others taken
of the passive tense or the second
are not being faced. from Bertold Ulsamers wonderful
person, and out of euphemisms.
book: The Healing Power of the Past
9. Accentuate the positive (Underwood Books, October 2005). I also have a general rule that each
so as to keep relationship Firstly, I encourage ownership, so phrase should have just one idea and
doors open. I prefer almost invariably to have that there should be at least a pause,
sentences that start with I rather if not a full-stop, between each. For
10. Avoid clichs: keep them
than you, and that express wishes instance: I came to England. I was
context-specific and fresh.
rather than complaints i.e. from: searching for a husband. You were
You betrayed me to I miss you. the first one I met that accepted
me. So Im breaking the narrative
I have a little family of sentences that I
down into each bit having its own
might use to help disentangle situations
Let us say that each person comes into incontrovertible, consequential line.
that have become conflated or to
this field of healing out of a particular bring things together that have got too The one exception is when Im dealing
the knowing field

sort of wounding. Then my wounding separated. For instance: You are my with paradoxes, contradictions and
was the poor connection between boss and not my father or: Because complexities, in which case I look for
my childhood experience and how it you died I was conceived tautologies them to be juxtaposed in a slightly
was then described in the world. A lot and distinguishers that bring about ironic, humorous or shocking way
of my life was based on a lie so that, basic order and remind people both of in order to make a point. This is the
even as a child, it was given to me as their connection and their difference, Gestalt approach of including the
a task to try and find the sentences as well as their passion and their truth. resistance. So I would say: I am
that matched out there with in here
big and you are little, although both
10
the knowing field
of us pretend that I am little and you those extraordinary, simple, resonant letting the representatives
are big. Or: I am your mother and I sentences: With this ring I thee wed. speak for themselves?
value you agreeing to be my mother.
David: Its what Churchill Judith: Every single offering of a
These separate categories of I know very deliberately did: echoing sentence is the testing of a hypothesis.
Im your mother and yet I need you the cadences of the Book of It has to come from the place in me
to mother me, that might work when Common Prayer and the King that says: Let me try this out. And
they are in silos but are revealed to James Bible in his speeches. then I hand it straight back into the
be absurd as soon as you put them phenomenological complexity of
together in the one sentence. Judith: Absolutely. And I began to the field and I check carefully to see
see, if you could find a language that whether people say it lifelessly, or
There are also sentences that express connected people to these profound, whether they say it with their own
pure hatred or madness that can ancient, archetypal resonances, agendas re-stimulated, or whether
bring great relief to those who have you were going to enormously they say it and it opens something
suffered from living them, for example: strengthen the constellation process. into the field which has a ring of clarity
I wanted you dead. I have a rule
of thumb which is short words and David: Is there not a risk that
another which is no jargon of any these beautifully formed,
kind. So I rule out words like abuse, timeless sentences put words in
dysfunctional all those words that, representatives mouths in a way What sentences
that distorts their felt sense?
like euphemisms, are pre-packaged can provide are
avoidances of fresh connection.
On top of that, I look for beauty.
Judith: One of the things I find very
helpful about using representatives
little windows that
is that they keep me on my open and blow a
phenomenological toes. If I move
fresh breeze on
Its the love you people beyond what can be
registered phenomenologically by a soul, that help
carry into the field the representatives, something goes
dead in their contact. So I know I give it temporary
that touches people, have gone too far and I have then
shape and direction
not fundamentally to find the sentence that keeps it
alive, and makes them say: Yes, and courage. I
the insights. thats it! Difficult to say, but yes!
With representatives I can rely on this hope thats what
instant feedback. In contrast, issue- my sentences do:
David: Im always struck by holders tend to be more committed
the poetic quality of your to their perceptions of reality and are move the soul.
sentences, and of course you likely either to say: Thats rubbish or
were an English teacher. Thats true, but either way without
genuinely re-consulting themselves.
Judith: Ive always read a lot of and truth, however painful it is. Its
literature and Im mesmerised by good So I think the check on my something which constellators need
language: particularly those phrases grandiosity and the possibility of to acquire: a very sure understanding
that are like deep pools that you can being poetically over-powering or of the way the body responds
almost never get to the bottom of, and Churchillian, is the contact I make, to the chemistry of contact.
the ripples they send out become, if the real egalitarian communication,
the sense in which we are all nodes Also I specifically spend time at the
anything, richer. In the early days of
of a communal field or brain. We are beginning of the work encouraging
systemic work I demonstrated some
working together and nobody carries people to drop their co-operativeness
constellations to the Gestalt community
more weight than anybody else. to anything other than what is
in America, (a distinguished, but
real, so that the fact they have my
polysyllabic bunch) and I remember
David: Then isnt there a risk permission and the fact that I am
someone commenting on my language
that others, less experienced looking so carefully, helps me. As
as moving back into the Biblical
and skilled than you, may try soon as they say: It is not quite
field. This interested me very much
to copy your directive style in a right or Id rather say X, then I
because I thought about the power
way that risks being potentially get new information and I make a
of the Book of Common Prayer with
more damaging than simply new hypothesis. Its the only way.

11
David: Whats the cutting edge of This is work that operates at the level
REFERENCES
your constellation practice now? of the soul and a guiding principle
for me is not to do anything that Ulsamer, Bertold (2005) The
Judith: Im slightly distracted from doesnt carry my soul along with it, Healing Power of the Past: A
concentrating on that question because that doesnt touch me with those New Approach to Healing Family
so much of my time is spent thinking Wounds. Underwood Books.
soul qualities of love, longing, loss,
pedagogically for the people I train. yearning, completeness. These things
Also, I value the basics and not only exist beyond a purely emotional level
the new edges. But my cutting edge is and change our whole beings capacity Notes:
probably to do with the fact that, the to be in the world. This is a realm of 1. Zist: The German Humanistic Psychology
more in tune with reality I get and the experience to which other eras have Growth Centre that hosted the annual
nearer to death, the less interested I given much more weight than our own, ISCA (International Systemic Constellations
am in neat resolution, or good and bad because theyve not been so focused Association) training in Systemic
and the more perfect things seem to Constellations from 2001 to 2004.
on feelings and thoughts as we are.
me as they are in all their terribleness. Its a realm that is neither feeling, nor 2. Bernried: the location of the monastery
thought, nor body, but uses all of them in southern Germany which has hosted
Its a difficult journey to be on. It is ISCAs annual training since 2006.
to give us the capacity to become a
so tempting to stop and put your
perfect registrar of truth and beauty.
flag down somewhere and insist on
what is right, because its unbearable Berts religious and political and
not to. But Im wanting to make therapeutic background, and his
sure my language keeps up with my insistence on this work being all about
respect for things as they are, and soul, has had a particularly deep
in a loving rather than an abstract, influence on me. What sentences can
numbed out, philosophical way. Its provide are little windows that open
the love you carry into the field that and blow a fresh breeze on a soul,
touches people, not fundamentally that help give it temporary shape and
the insights. Its the field of love and direction and courage. I hope thats
the respect for being allowed to be what my sentences do: move the soul.
human for this brief, muddled time.

David Presswell trained in Organisational and Family Constellations with Judith


Hemming, Ty Francis and as part of two ISCA Intensives. Previously a TV Producer
of factual programming at the BBC and Channel 4, he now regularly uses a
constellation approach as an assessor, coach and facilitator for a range of large-
scale British and multi-national companies. He contributed a case study to John
Whittingtons book, Systemic Coaching and Constellations (Kogan Page, 2012)
and has co-written a chapter on embodied learning with Prof. Peter Hawkins for
his forthcoming book Leadership Team Coaching in PracticeEdited by Peter
Hawkins (Kogan Page, London 2014). He is a director of Aretai Consulting.

david.presswell@aretai.net
www.aretai.net
the knowing field

12
the knowing field
Francesca Mason Boring in Conversation with Tanja Meyburgh
This Conversation took place by email in July/August 2013

Tanja Meyburgh, registered counselling psychologist, has been facilitating


constellations in South Africa for more than 10 years. Tanja has a special
interest in traditional African cosmology and is undergoing extensive training in
traditional medicine to understand family lineage wisdom based in the African
traditions. Tanja has been involved in training facilitators since 2005 and is
founder of the African Constellations Institute. Her therapeutic background
includes narrative therapy, wilderness and art therapy. As well as private
practice, Tanja has therapeutic and organisational consulting experience
in multicultural NGO settings in South Africa, including organisations
dealing with HIV, trauma, orphans, political violence and addiction.

tanja@tanjameyburgh.co.za
www.tanjameyburgh.co.za
www.africanconstellations.co.za

After years of a number of exchanges


regarding common topics of
a traditional African doctor who told
me that I was being called by the
I was fascinated
interest, which included Nature ancestors to start training in traditional by the fact that
in Constellations, the inclusion of medicine, particularly working with the
ritual, and the relationship of the ancestors. At the time I was not ready
Hellinger had lived
indigenous and systems constellation, to step into this cultural unknown. in South Africa and
it was a delight for Francesca and Around the same time, a colleague
Tanya to have a deeper exchange, suggested that I attend a family was convinced
which might be of interest to the
constellation and broader community.
constellation introductory workshop
with Dr. Ursula Franke at which I did my
that Family
first constellation and had a very deep Constellations could
sense that this was the appropriate
way for me to respond to doing
bridge the divide
Francesca: How did you come
to constellation work?
ancestral work that honoured both my between African
African and German ancestors. I was
Tanja: I would say that my ancestors fascinated by the fact that Hellinger and Western people
called me to constellation work. I had had lived in South Africa and was
convinced that Family Constellations
in South Africa.
struggled for most of my adult life with
recurring episodes of unexplained body could bridge the divide between African
symptoms, fatigue and depression and Western people in South Africa,
and was eventually advised to consult and between the African and Westerner

13
My biggest influence who works with divination, herbs and
ancestral spirits. I am not training
Francesca: How has your work
evolved since you first began?
however is my as a Sangoma, but as a traditional
doctor, the difference being that I do Tanja: In the beginning I worked
spirituality, my deep not work with possession of spirits, more classically with the orders,

relationship with the but am learning lineage wisdom, looking for the invisible loyalties
and entanglements and bringing the
divination through the bones, family
natural world and rituals and herbs. It has given me an system into order. These days I stop
when the system shows indications
the African soil. understanding for the what and how
of constellations and helped fill many of the miracle question, and rarely
gaps in my understanding and practice. offer a solution image. In the past
my language for understanding what
in myself. I joined the Intensive
This training has also opened me to was happening in constellations was
training at Zist1 in 2003, and so my
a completely new way of seeing and more around revealing the hidden
journey with constellations began.
understanding what is happening in dynamics in family systems and the
Francesca: What in your the client and their family system, and healing that this brings. I worked
background has influenced your a deep understanding of why Hellinger more like the teachers from whom
approach to constellation work? did some of the things he was doing
in the early books I read. The missing
Tanja: Everything that I did before steps in some of his early interventions
constellations feels like preparation for are clearer to me now, and I have A lot of traditional
how I work. I had extensive training in
anthroposophy, particularly process-
a renewed respect for traditional
constellations and going back to
lineage wisdom
oriented art therapy and Goethean the basic constellation structures is contained in
observation which taught me to be as Hellinger first introduced them.
comfortable with the phenomenology the decisions that
of process and emergence without
analysis, as well as learning to observe
By missing steps I am referring to
jumps in his reasoning for doing the
Hellinger would
phenomena and living processes. I next step in a constellation that are appear to make
also use the teaching methodology not apparent to the onlooker. A lot of
in my training groups, learning traditional lineage wisdom is contained regarding where
from the body and experientially, in the decisions that Hellinger would to look in the
through the heart, to the head. appear to make regarding where to
look in the family lineage for particular family lineage for
My masters degree training in Narrative
therapy and post-modern philosophy
problems, as well as some of his
controversial statements such as:
particular problems,
influences my work, particularly in the woman follows the man. For as well as some of
the stance of the relationship with the example, the traditional family rituals
client, awareness of power biases, and observances of the womans his controversial
being comfortable with not-knowing,
externalising the problems and
move from her parents household to statements such
the household of her husband when
being able to formulate questions they get married help to explain what as: the woman
in such a way that they are not
pathologising, but rather therapeutic
he meant by this. The explanation for
men standing on the right and women
follows the man.
interventions in themselves. standing on the left, for example, can
be seen in interventions proposed
My biggest influence however is my
by the traditional healer for specific I had learnt and spent a lot of time
spirituality, my deep relationship with
problems pertaining to the female or drawing the genogram and making
the natural world and the African soil,
male lineage and rituals for rectifying hypotheses that could then be tested
and now especially my encounter with
these, as well as family seating rituals in the constellation. Since I started my
the knowing field

Niall, a traditional African doctor who


and greater community harvest rituals. formal training in the African lineage
has been my teacher in the Tswana
Niall and I are writing extensively about traditions, I have better tools to work
lineage traditions for the past four
this, particularly the parallels between with preparation and containment, and
years. Niall received his calling as a
Southern African traditions and the awareness that protects against illness
young boy in rural Botswana, and was
orders of love of Bert Hellinger, and and fall-out in myself and the clients.
lucky that his parents were willing to
we are now running workshops that I have tools from the African traditions
let him train with the local Sangoma,
bring African traditional knowledge for coming into communion with my
a traditional African medicine person
and constellations together.
14
the knowing field
ancestors and can guide my clients the things that he later incorporated see as perhaps unique in Africa
on how to do the same if they wish. into his Family Constellations method. regarding constellation work?
I have never spoken to him about
The constellations I facilitate with my it, although I would like to, but now Tanja: I think the uniqueness comes
ancestors have become simpler and learning African lineage as my main through the people who facilitate
at the same time more profound. I subject in my training, I am sure that it and the people that are seeking
can track things much more quickly; Hellinger came into deep contact and healing. Constellation work is such a
sometimes with the first few sentences conversation with traditional African personal thing; it rests deeply on the
it is clear who to set up. My brain is people. At one point I wondered structure of ones previous learning
less involved in the process than it whether he had actually been initiated and experience, and this is true all
was in the beginning, and my body into the traditions, but I think his over the world. One thing I see a lot
knowledge was secular and learnt in South Africa is a deep identification
through elders in the community with the victim, and rejection of the
and by participation in rituals. perpetrator, from both the victim and
perpetrator lineage. Very little work
I am sure that In my experience, the earlier work is being done with the perpetrator,
of Hellinger echoes many daily and I think constellations have a
Hellinger came practices and family seating that is special role to play in this respect.
into deep contact known to traditional people in South
I also think it will be of special interest
Africa, but is foreign to modernised
and conversation Western people. The movements that when more of our black South African
graduates take this work back into
with traditional are described as entanglements
deeply reflect traditional practices their own communities and make it
African people. and thoughts around respect and their own again, and I look forward
belonging and I suspect a lot of what to hearing their stories. Up until now,
has been controversial and criticised many of the black South African
in Hellingers early ideas stems from students that have come onto the
an attempt in modern Western thinking training have been very westernised
is a better resource. I can track the to break away from certain ideas and and working in western contexts, so I
subtle movements now as well as practices that are seen as patriarchal question whether traditional Africans
the bigger more obvious movements and tribal. Much is indigestible to really want or need constellation
in the system. A major aspect that the Western intellect, but in the as the ancestors are already part
has developed more recently is the practice of incorporating this more of everyday life, and ancestral
homework rituals that are given, into constellations, many Westerners ritual is a part of community life.
this being a gift from the African have a sense of coming home,
As people move to cities and become
traditions that is very powerful in similar to what people describe when
more westernised and often reject
grounding the process and the they first encounter constellations.
ancestral traditions in favour of the
solution movement and orientating However, a deeper understanding of
church, perhaps constellations will be
the clients thinking towards a how the order that is at play in ancestral
a more digestible way to work with
rather than analysis and unpacking fields is in my opinion rather more
their ancestors if their church allows
of the actual constellation and liberating than disempowering. In our
it of course. Many churches here in
searching for further whys. African Constellation workshops, we
South Africa forbid any work with
share pieces of indigenous African
Francesca: In working in South the ancestors and there is often an
knowledge that bring about a deeper
Africa, can you say some more internal struggle in the client between
understanding of the orders. The
about how you think you have seen the traditional and the church. Some
African wisdom also informs the
the underpinnings of Hellingers churches allow ancestral rituals within
directions of our intervention and
work with the Ancestors and the church structure. In my experience
homework rituals that are prescribed.
The Knowing Field and how they working in black African communities
I also think there is much that
have influenced each other? of elders with constellations, story-
Hellinger left out in his understanding
telling was particularly important and
of healing that is learnt in traditional
Tanja: Yes, I believe Hellinger was there was no possibility of a short
medicine and could address some
deeply influenced by his time here, interview and then a constellation.
of the difficulties people experience
and having been fluent in Zulu, I am
with the constellation field. In township areas poverty is rife and
sure he would have witnessed and
conversed deeply with the elders in some people come to the workshops
Francesca: Perhaps an extension
the rural community where he lived, to because there is tea and biscuits and
of that question regarding
come to an understanding of many of they have no work. HIV and Aids has
Hellinger and Africa, what do you
15
taken many of the parents, leaving Francesca: What would you advise/ Francesca: What would you say
children as heads of households, offer/suggest to new facilitators to experienced facilitators?
and traditional culture is dying out seeking supervision and feedback
to a large extent. In my experience, as they begin, to gain experience? Tanja: I dont believe one is ever too
constellation work is not always experienced to learn and to receive
appropriate in these settings as trauma Tanja: For the new facilitator, I would support and supervision from an inter-
is complicated and ongoing, and say that it is important not to wait vision group or supervisor, and ongoing
resources are scarce. Sometimes there too long when you are learning work with ones own family field and
are better things to serve the needs constellations to start practising. what emerges through the course of
here than constellations, particularly Peer groups that are structured with ones own biography and various life
economic empowerment and having a peer supervisor/co-facilitator and stages that calls forward people and
stories witnessed. My recent focus with very clear peer group technique that experiences from ones ancestral field
constellations has been in communities ensures that feedback is supportive can be an ongoing gift to your clients
where ancestors have been forgotten, and constructive is the best way to when transmuted and transformed
excluded or marginalised. In many start facilitating. I suggest starting through personal work. A regular
traditional African communities to practise in this safe environment discussion in our inter-vision group
here, this is not the case; ancestral after a few days of training. In my is around how many constellations
communion is alive and well. training the trainees start facilitating facilitators get seriously ill, and the
importance of spiritual hygiene when
There seems also to be an interesting working with the knowing field. I can
role that African Constellations can share a special observation from my
play in the generation of people who
A healer pledges traditional medicine training which I
live modern, educated lives, but whose and always find really useful: A healer pledges
parents were deeply traditional. African and always endeavours (also in
Constellations presents a way back endeavours (also in their personal life) never to take the
into their own ancestral roots and may
provide access, understanding and
their personal life) dignity away from anybody else, and
in fact to increase the dignity of all
acceptance of their parents traditional never to take the those that they come in contact with
ways when it becomes clearer what wherever possible. Working within
this was attempting to preserve in
dignity away from the ancestral field for me implies that
the family structure. Constellations anybody else. we must practise in our personal
have an incredible power to facilitate lives what we do in our professional
deep respect and honouring of ones lives to be authentic in our work.
parents, ones culture and the other
when facilitated in an empowering way. one-on-one with peer supervision in Francesca: Do you have any
the second module and then go on thoughts on peer supervision?
Francesca: Have Family to practise in peer groups. This group
Constellations helped you Tanja: I have been a part of a wonderful
can also become the place where
personally? Do you find them collegial inter-vision group for eight
trainees can do their own personal
relevant in any way to your years and this feels like my circle of
work with constellations, so there is
own family system? sisters and has been a good compass
simultaneous ongoing professional
and support for me in my role as trainer
and personal development within
Tanja: From the first constellation I in South Africa. I also see the value in
the trainees family systems.
did, it was a life-changing experience. learning and consulting with elders who
Working through my relationship with I would say the most important tool can mentor and provide guidance. Guni
my own parents has felt essential as a facilitator is being able to see Baxa gave me very good advice: she
for facilitating constellation work what is present in the knowing field, said I should find people that I like and
authentically. Many of my family and respond to it from a place of not resonate with and then work with them.
members have subsequently knowing. Theory and knowledge are Not to feel obliged or worried about
either attended my workshops important, but trust in ones informed excluding anyone, but to create a group
the knowing field

as representatives or done their intuition and embodied experience of peers with whom I feel supported
own constellations with one of my can fine tune the ability to work and can do deep personal work. It was
colleagues. Constellations have shifted phenomenologically, which allows for excellent advice and I like to pass it on
things in my own family; so in a way deep healing movements in the system. to my students as they are graduating.
we are a walking testament to the I do not believe that you can learn to
work that I do. I continue to do my Francesca: What is your
facilitate constellations by reading
own work with constellations through approach to training?
about them or merely watching.
my collegial inter-vision group.
16
the knowing field
Tanja: I have developed a foundation Tanja: In 2007 and 2008 I was invited Association of South Africa, that bring
training course that introduces the to run a weekly constellation circle people together to self-regulate and
trainee to the theoretical underpinnings with a group of grandmothers from work within clear ethical principles as
of constellations through their own Kayelitscha, the African township that a way of maintaining the integrity of
self-experience journey, including sprawls beyond the suburbs of Cape constellation work in their individual
their own genogram, constellations Town. These women were retired from countries. Although this may be
and assignments based on subjects work, in their late 60s and 70s, and criticised by some, I think it may be
or themes in their family field. The they were also the bread-winners and unavoidable. We will see systemic
next step, if the participant has the the glue that held their communities thinking and constellation theory
necessary qualifications, is to start together. What became clear during
practising constellations in a peer- our meetings, was that they valued the
group setting, and then to continue
advanced training with various local
constellation work immensely; they
requested my input in helping them to
If I can be a part of
and international facilitators on specific develop a hand crafting business that doing something
subjects. Mentors occasionally could assist in income generation to
visit the peer groups to give input, feed their community. The interest in that improves my
but mostly they are self-organised. business development grew, and the neighbours life,
One-on-one supervision is also a family constellation stories were often
requirement for training completion, told over tea and needlecraft. When then my life has
which is done by obtaining all the
requirements for a training portfolio.
I went on maternity leave with my
first child, he had a full set of knitted
meaning too.
We have a local association in South outfits created by these women and
Africa that facilitators can join if gifted to me. They thanked me for
they have the necessary training healing their families, but especially infiltrating all levels and structures
for filling their tummies. For many in society as more people attend
the needs are basic, and economic workshops and trainings and bring
empowerment makes so much sense threads of their understandings back
from a preventative perspective as well. to their own fields. I also think that
I think we will there may be a split ahead between
The project of the dollies is still very
see stronger small, but could hold huge potential
those that want constellation work to
be accepted in scientific communities
national structures with the right funding and input to through rigorous research, and those
develop a training structure that can
developing, such both teach the skills of making the
that are not so interested in taking
this course. My wish is that the field
as our Systems dollies, and teach women about small
business.2 It is work that can be done
remains diverse and continues to
evolve, but that at the same time
Constellations at home by mothers and caretakers. the beauty of the essence of what
The money a woman makes from
Association of South one set of dollies can feed her family
Hellinger brought is not lost in
everybody trying to give this work a
Africa, that bring of four for a month. It can keep her new branding or flavour. I like the idea
home with her children so that they
people together to are safe. It could make it possible in
that science is starting to explain what
constellation and indigenous cultures
self-regulate and the long run for them to go to school
and educate themselves for a better
have been practising for centuries.

work within clear future. In future I would like to link a Francesca: What do you
scholarship fund to the dollies project feel most passionate about
ethical principles. so that the women that our clients have in constellation work?
come to know through their beautiful
hand-craft can receive assistance to Tanja: I have experienced and seen
send their children to good schools. constellation work change peoples
lives for the better. If I can be a part
requirements, sign the ethical code
Francesca: What do you see of doing something that improves
and commit to ongoing inter-vision.
for the future in constellation my neighbours life, then my life has
Francesca: Can you share work generally? meaning too. In South Africa we have a
something about your work with beautiful saying: I am because we are.
Tanja: I think we will see stronger
economic development (the
national structures developing,
wonderful dollies project)?
such as our Systems Constellations
17
Notes: imagination on to the doll. The lineage sets
make the difference between females and
1. Zist: The German Humanistic Psychology males clear through the use of two colours,
Growth Centre that hosted the annual and the rainbow sets allow the client to
ISCA (International Systemic Constellations choose dollies as they like to represent
Association) training in Systemic different people in their family. We are also
Constellations from 2001 to 2004. developing smaller add-on sets of ancient
ancestors, additional children, different
2. The African Constellations Dollies races etc. We use natural fabrics, recycled
are dolls, but I have called them materials and beads to get the uniquely
dollies because of their small size. African look and feel of the dollies. The
project is still in the early stages, but the idea
The dollies have been developed over the is to build skills capacity and teach business
past 5 years for use in individual family skills as the project grows. Our long-term
constellation therapy and as an economic vision is to have a project manager and
empowerment project for women in South administrator and to have a scholarship
Africa. They are based on a design used fund to assist the makers of the dolls to
in waldorf education that leaves the face send their children to good schools.
unmarked so that any emotion or facial
features can be projected by the clients

Francesca Mason Boring is a facilitator and trainer of Family Systems


Constellation. An enrolled member of the Shoshone Nation, she is the
Co-Editor of Returning to Membership in Earth Community: Systemic
Constellations with Nature (Stream of Experience Productions, 2013), author
of Connecting to Our Ancestral Past; Healing through Family Constellation,
Ceremony & Ritual (North Atlantic Books, 2012), Botschaften aus dem
indigenene Feld, (Carl-Auer, 2009), Wandelen door het wetende veld,
(Alta Mira, 2009), Feather Medicine, Walking in Shoshone Dreamtime: A
Family System Constellation, (Llumina Press, 2004), and Coyote Dance,
(Llumina Press, 2005). Francesca serves on the Advisory Board for The
Knowing Field, the international English language journal on Systems
Constellation. As a writer and facilitator Francesca has been instrumental in
the development of Constellation as Ceremony and Nature Constellations.

francesca@allmyrelationsconstellations.com
www.allmyrelationsconstellations.com
the knowing field

18
the knowing field
Janos Szabo in conversation with Dr Arnold Polivka
This Conversation took place in Budapest, Hungary on 5 June 2013

Married for 37 years, Arnold and his wife Eva have been working together
for 15 years and facilitated over 3000 constellations in: Austria, Germany,
Italy, France, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, the Czech Republic and
Slovakia, Hungary, Brazil and the USA. They have offered facilitator training
for constellation work in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and
Hungary. Arnold is a psychologist, life and social consultant, constellations
facilitator and trainer with extensive international experience. He has a keen
interest in shamanic tradition and Sufism. Eva was working as a teacher for
20 years and since then has helped others as a facilitator, life- and social
consultant, supervisor, trainer and art therapist for another two decades. Eva is
an intuitive and sensitive person, who has developed the talent of clairvoyance
during these years. At the same time, she has both feet on the ground as a
wife and a mother. She and Arnold have raised three children together.

info@lebenskunst-polivka.at
http://www.lebenskunst-polivka.at/

Janos met Arnold on the 5th of June Sometimes I meet the client as a roles. Working together also gives us
in a quiet tea-house after a training child during the journey. I ask what the opportunity for one of us to do a
session in Budapest to talk about his happened and use all my empathy short private session with the client
work with his wife Eva. He describes to help that child. In other cases an after the constellation, while the other
Arnold as a very calm and humble ancestor shows up from the clients one closes the session with the group.
person, with a magical ability to family system while I tune in. And just Both in private life and work we are
make you smile at the world. like in a constellation, I try to find out equal partners and we have a mutual
what is needed to restore balance. interest in new approaches. Weve been
Janos: You have a busy travel inspired by Bert Hellinger, Carl Gustav
schedule and between trips you do When I finish the journey I call the client Jung and the spirituality of Sufism.
distance healing. Where did you again to share my experiences. Clients
learn this technique of distance are able to interpret these images very
healing and how does it work? well in line with their current lives and

Arnold: I learnt this technique from


I have experienced a lot of immediate
positive changes, like body symptoms
Both in private
Martin Brune and I developed it in my
own way in line with re-balancing family
disappearing right after the session. life and work we
systems. First I let the client talk about Janos: You work closely with your are equal partners
their issue and after that I ask them to wife Eva. How do you split the
lie down for about half an hour. In the tasks, when you work together?
and we have a
meantime I tune into their emotions and
Arnold: Usually one of us facilitates the
mutual interest in
start the inner journey by opening my
awareness to receive the images that constellation and the other one is free new approaches.
appear in resonance with the issue. to be chosen as a representative. And
for the next constellation we switch

19
Janos: You and your wife have reactions. People lay down on the of the Dead and cant connect to
travelled all around the world. What floor, while others tried to help them. their physical body either. It can also
are the most common constellation Suddenly someone jumped on a chair happen that the dead persons soul
themes in the different countries? and cried: Peace! We have peace desperately tries to find another living
now! And the drama turned into a person to attach to. The shamans
Arnold: In Austria and Germany the joyful dance. It turned out that the call this phenomenon obsession.
war experience and the traumas from date was August 21, the anniversary
that are the most frequent issues in of the 1968 Russian invasion.
the families, plus the personal guilt
of grandparents from the Nazi era. Janos: Have you come across So sometimes
any emergency situations
during constellations?
shamanic techniques
are needed in
Arnold: Once there was a woman
In Italy it is hard in the role of a child who had died constellations.
for men generally young. She was lying on the floor and
suddenly I noticed that her eyes were
to become closed and she wasnt responding to So we escorted the representative
any questions put to her; this was a
independent from sign of something serious. We helped
for the pilot out into nature and we
asked the wind to guide his soul on
womens emotions. her to get up and I asked her to look its way. The remaining representatives
into my eyes, to tell me her first name also needed the help of the four
and her date of birth. In situations like elements to bring themselves out of
that it is important that the person gets this challenging constellation: water
France was the first country where out of the role immediately. It turned to wash their hands and faces, the
abortions were legalised and a couple out that the representative had herself warmth of the sun to dry it up and the
of years ago we had a seminar been hospitalised right after birth for wind to blow the strange energy away.
where abortions were the issue of a year. None of her relatives, including So sometimes shamanic techniques
nearly every constellation, which her mother, had visited her during that are needed in constellations.
was very exhausting for the group. time because she was expected to
die sooner or later. She had survived Janos: And sometimes art can
In Italy it is hard for men generally at that time and now the constellation be helpful too cant it? What
to become independent from was creating an opportunity for is the added value of using
womens emotions. her to face her personal trauma. art in constellation work?
In the Netherlands and in Norway Arnold: In order to find solutions and
sailor stories show up very often in deal with life crises, people need to
the constellations: sons who had to
take over fathers role in the family, ..participants were leave behind the mental approach.
Finding the root of problems which
because their fathers were away at sea. sensing that a lie in the unconscious requires
another kind of communication,
In Brazil we have often witnessed the large number of which is mostly through images
harsh fate of the indigenous people
the semi-nomadic indian tribes invisible people had and emotions rather than thinking
and words. When we are dreaming,
were mostly killed by the Europeans
from 1500, when the Portugese
entered the room we use this symbolic language.
explorers arrived. Slavery was and it felt like an Therefore sometimes we ask the
abolished only in the 18th century.
invasion of soldiers. participants at the beginning of the
session to draw a picture, a sketch, to
During a constellation workshop in
express with symbols or colours whats
Prague (Czech Republic), we were
going on in their life right now. Then
the knowing field

unable to start the next planned I remember also a constellation, where


the uncle of the client had tragically they listen to the drawing, until they
session, because participants were
died in an aircraft accident and his hear the title of the picture, which also
sensing that a large number of invisible
representative said that he didnt feel offers helpful information to them. This
people had entered the room and it
dead. If someone dies suddenly, it experience creates the emotional link
felt like an invasion of soldiers. So
can happen that their soul becomes to the issue and gives us as facilitators
we asked the participants who were
trapped between the two worlds: they a key to the inner world of the person
resonating with the images of war
struggle to find their way to the realm whom we are going to accompany.
to stand up and follow their bodily
20
the knowing field
Finding the root of Janos: What is the key message
that you deliver to your students
Constellation seminars are a deep
group experience of supporting
problems which lie when you are offering training? each other in finding solutions.

in the unconscious Arnold: As a facilitator you need to As the sufi poet, Mewlana

requires another way be yourself natural and authentic.


We always encourage our students
Jalaluddin Rumi, once wrote:

of communication, to develop their own style instead of Come, come whoever you are
imitating someone else. It is vital to
which is mostly have clear perception and an open
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving
it doesnt matter.
through images and mind and as a facilitator to be able to
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
step outside your own belief system.
emotions rather than Come, even if you have broken your
vow
For us every participant in the group
thinking and words. is an important and equal source a hundred times
for finding solutions. Therefore, Come, come again, come.
with respect, we give space to the
We dont do any interpretations of resonant reactions and impulses
the pictures; we just observe them coming from everyone in the group
carefully and they help us to set up and from the representatives.
the constellation in an intuitive way.

Janos has worked for international companies for two decades,


living in Switzerland and the Netherlands. Currently he works as a
consultant for FAO (United Nations) and he also facilitates systemic
and family constellations in Hungary with his wife. He has studied
at the Hellinger Institute in Budapest. He is a zen practitioner.

jnsszabo@gmail.com
http://hellingermodszer.blogspot.hu/

21
New Developments
Getting to Know the Embodied Brain:
The Interpersonal Neurobiology
of Constellation Work

Sarah Peyton

Sarah Peyton, Certified Trainer in Non-violent Communication and


constellations facilitator, is deeply interested in the synthesis of Interpersonal
Neurobiology (IPNB) and how language and experience support healing and
integration. A regular contributor to the Global Association of Interpersonal
Neurobiology Studies journal, Sarah has developed Brain Constellations to
bring people into more conscious relationship with their own patterns.

peytwood@isomedia.com
www.empathybrain.com

In March 2013, at the age of 50, tired


of close to five decades of living with
As I expressed the pain, the aloneness, the rage,
and these representatives spoke
the after-effects of sexual abuse, I went my anger and words of acknowledgement, regret
to a family constellation workshop and support. Then, after everything
and asked for help in healing. I had
reclaimed my power, necessary had been said, my people
lived through two main experiences encouraged and held moved behind me to support me in
of abuse, once when I was an infant confronting the perpetrators. As I
and once when I was in my early by my ancestors, I expressed my anger and reclaimed
adolescence. Neither experiences
were repeated, but both created
felt the very cells in my power, encouraged and held by
my ancestors, I felt the very cells in my
the profound expectation that I had my body shift, and body shift, and I felt the sensations of
no control over what happened to the chronic condition connected with
my body, and so my best survival
I felt the sensations the abuse shift and disappear. At the
of the chronic
the knowing field

strategy would be to deny that it current time, eight months later, at the
belonged to me. In response to time of writing this article, I continue
my request, the facilitator, Jane condition connected to experience better physical health.
Peterson, created a ritual of clearing.
She placed my representatives for
with the abuse shift How can this have happened?

my non-responsive parents, my and disappear. This and other experiences I have


grandparents and my ancestors in had, of healing and facilitating healing
ranks in front of me. I named the acts, through constellation work and

22
the knowing field
resonant language, have led me on Cortex (PFC), and the limbic system, constellations? It is important because:
a journey of discovery. When I was particularly the amygdala, which is emotions make the brain neuroplastic,
young, I was taught that anything that the brains emotional alarm system. but only in moderation (Damasio,
happened to us after three years of age Siegel shows this by making a fist 1999, p. 295). If our client is completely
was immaterial. But as an adult, over that encloses the thumb to symbolise disconnected from their emotions,
and over again, I have seen examples the brain. He uses the base of the then they are not in a state that permits
of extraordinary transformation. hand to represent the brainstem, the much change. (Sometimes we cannot
And the path of asking why? and thumb to represent the limbic system tell how deeply people are affected
how? has led me into the world of with the amygdala emphasised, and by just looking at them, so the clients
Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB). In the fingers, coming down over the self-report is what matters here). So
2001, Daniel Siegel published the first thumb, to represent the PFC. We can there needs to be some emotional
edition of the book that created the lift our fingers to reveal the thumb charge, some sense of salience, or
field of IPNB: The Developing Mind. It (amygdala) to help us understand meaning, to facilitate learning and
took me until 2009 to find out that this that when the amygdala has a sense insight. But we dont want our clients
integrated field of study existed, with its that we are under threat, it takes to be flooded, because then they are
rich troves of research into the effects over the brain (in other words, we flip boiling in emotional soup, and they
that we have on each others brains. It our lids) until the PFC can re-assert cant be affected by the work. If I had
was a relief to discover that the findings control and make better decisions been sobbing and distraught during
from what Siegel calls The Decade my healing ritual, I would not be able to
of the Brain (the 1990s) showed that remember it, or to say what needed to
we can heal and shift our early, painful be said. This is important information
brain patterns. Now I spend about Luckily, since we are for us as facilitators. Luckily, since
an hour a day reading from this field, we are interpersonal beings, we can
and weaving this understanding into interpersonal beings, balance one another out, and the
my teaching and writing about the
profound influence our relationships
we can balance one constellation facilitator can balance
and support the seeker in being in
have on us. If you want to begin your another out, and an emotional state that is neither
own reading journey, a book list is disconnected nor overwhelmed.
included at the end of this article. the constellation
The writing of these authors and facilitator can I promised you that we would take
a tour of memory as well, since
my exposure to the world of IPNB
research has given me hope and a new balance and support understanding memory helps us
understand what we are doing with
respect for neuroplasticity the brains
capacity to change. Still, healing is not
the seeker in being constellation work. Memory can be
easy. Some people struggle for years in an emotional conscious (explicit) or non-conscious
without making much progress with (implicit). Explicit memories are filed
their emotional pain. So what makes state that is neither and co-ordinated by a different part of
the difference? What do we need to disconnected nor the brain than our implicit memories.
Sometimes, as with traumatic
know about the brain that will help us
facilitate growth and healing? And how overwhelmed. memories that come back to us again
does constellation work contribute? and again, a memory can have both
explicit (known) and implicit (unknown)
Lets take a short tour through the brain parts. Emotional memories that are
and memory. The brain is a bit like a (figure out whether we need to be painful and disruptive tend not to
Tootsie Pop, a caramel centred lollipop alarmed, control our anger, consider fade. The old adage: Time heals all
on a stick sold in the USA, with the the implications and consequences wounds, is not true. The implicit part
cortex and its axon tails making up the of our actions, and have empathy for of the memory is held in the amygdala,
sugar candy of the lollipop, the limbic the other). Then we close our fingers which has no sense of time. The time
system making up the chewy centre, into a fist again, showing that once the is always now for the amygdala. So
and the brainstem as the central white PFC re-asserts control, the amygdala for my body, receiving the healing
stick. Daniel Siegel also works with is no longer in the drivers seat. ritual, the implicit part of the memory
the concept of this three-layered brain of the abuse, the emotional pain which
structure with his brain in the palm The brain in the palm of our hand I continued to carry in my body as
of the hand exercise, which takes has all kinds of implications for self- dis-ease and discomfort, was not fully
us into the relationship between the control, but why is it important when known to me. So my amygdala, my
cortex, most importantly the front part we think about healing, and about emotional memory centre, held the
of the cortex, called the Pre-frontal remembering for me until the anger,

23
betrayal, outrage and mourning could memory and knowing is centred here. for itself, for explicit, or consciously
be fully held, named and known. The hippocampus is not powered by known, memory. This kind of memory
emotion, which means it doesnt have transfer is proven in rodent research,
You might be asking: The amygdala? the weight of significance and survival where the mice are taught that a tone
I thought that was our emotional helping it to write in its information. that used to be associated with a
alarm system. What do you mean, So we have to work harder to learn shock is no longer indicative of danger,
it remembers? Unconscious, or our conscious knowing, like our but has not yet been demonstrated
implicit emotional memory consists multiplication tables (no emotional in research into human brains.
of amygdala-centred networks of significance). We can use repetition
perception and connections that and practice to memorise, or we can What does this have to do with
are written into our neurons without hitch a ride on the amygdalas ease constellation work? As we set up a
our conscious attention, with one of remembering by connecting the constellation, bringing our implicit,
exposure: hundreds of millions of new knowing with something that internal sense of relationship into
emotionally significant seconds that has emotional content: a story, a our explicit, conscious world, we are
create a glacier of implicit experience passion, an intensity, a hunger and inviting our emotional understanding of
that inexorably moves us, sometimes then we have explicit memories, the world and our families to be made
quickly, as when the glacier calves primarily stored in the hippocampus, clear and to be held with resonance,
pieces of ice that suddenly crash into but connected to the amygdala, so that it takes up residence in our
the sea, (sudden rages, unexpected that are given aliveness by their hippocampus, where we can make
storms of tears, the quick experience connection to our emotional world. sense of it. Our embodied brains,
of being unable to endure a relationship our distributed nervous systems, are
anymore) and sometimes so slowly the most complex systems we can
that we dont even notice our drift
(dissociation, disconnection, apathy,
If our client imagine, so we have many ways in
addition to memory integration to make
depression, racism, de-humanisation, is completely sense of our world. Daniel Siegel sees
etc.). And like a glacier, always present, nine main ways that we integrate our
as I mentioned, the amygdala has no disconnected from experience with our being, and now
sense of anything being in the past.
Everything is present time. Flashbacks
their emotions, then that we have an understanding of the
relationship between our PFCs, our
are the intrusion of past moments into they are not in a amygdalae, and our hippocampi, I
the present with no clear sense that the
memory is over. Loads of implicit pain
state that permits would like to invite us to look at these
Nine Domains of Integration in the
can keep our entire bodies and immune much change. context of our constellation work:
systems continually activated, with
our chronic conditions being a kind of
extended, non-conscious flashback. So healing, like the healing that occurred
Integration of Presence
So the face of this glacier is really for me in my constellation, necessarily
the only part of it that we can know involves the amygdala. We know this Simultaneously the simplest and
the liminal space of the intersection because there was emotional content, the most complex of the forms of
between our emotional world and our and since the chronic condition was integration presence is the art of
conscious world, which has its own affected by the work, we can speculate being here now. It starts with breath;
flavour, and which we will explore next. that it was indicative of an extended it wonders about what we are thinking
physical flashback. There are some at any given time, how we feel about
In preparation for understanding our figures in the IPNB world who believe ourselves, and what our relationship
conscious world, let me introduce the that in healing we lay down new tracks is with the face of our glacier. As our
second organ of memory in the brain, that gradually become stronger than constellation work lets us become
the hippocampus. The hippocampus the old memories, while I believe that acquainted with our liminal space, with
is the rock star of neuroplastic change what is actually happening is what who we are in between our explicit
in constellation work. It holds a spatial researchers call memory extinction. and implicit selves, we become more
representation of our world and our I believe that when we are held with capable of presence with ourselves
the knowing field

relationships; it time-stamps memory, resonance in the presence of a painful and more capable of relationship with
(working closely with the Anterior memory, the amygdala-centred network Other, a sense that the people around
Cingulate Cortex, which can tell of that memory flares into life, and as us actually exist. Family constellation
present from past) and it is the central the amygdala is calmed and soothed work, with its radical capacity to
sorting organ for all our factual and by matching resonance from our own name experience, and to take us into
autobiographical memory. In contrast or another PFC, then the hippocampus, our liminal space, invites presence
to the amygdala-centred implicit also located in the limbic system, and the hippocampus to the table.
memory, our conscious, or explicit, starts to claim this network of memory
24
the knowing field
Vertical Integration sexual abuse survivor fell away and Narrative Integration
I could see myself as a whole being.
Many of us come out of our childhoods The invitation to expansive vision that Stories are the life blood of our minds.
with very little contact with our bodies. is a hallmark of family constellation We have many stories about who
Vertical integration is all about creating work, takes us directly into experiences we are. Each of our roles carries its
a flow that lets us be in communication of Horizontal Integration. own story: mother, father, teacher,
with our physical selves. As we learned business person, housekeeper,
earlier in this article, when the PFC can athlete, volunteer. We also have
come on line and hold the amygdala stories from different parts of our
with care, we see the transformation
Memory Integration lives: childhood, adolescence, young
of the way we hold memory. This is We have already started to learn about adulthood, parenting, middle age.
one form of vertical integration. The the integration of memory. As we move The more that these stories exist as
PFC, at the front and top of the head, into relationship with the liminal space separate neural networks, and the
connects with the amygdala (lower), the between amygdala and hippocampus, less conversation there is between
brainstem, (lower) and the body itself between implicit and explicit memory, the different parts of ourselves, the
(lowest still). With vertical integration, we see tremendous healing and less integrated we are. The little ones
there is support travelling from PFC change. When we are no longer driven that I was, the ones who received
down to the limbic system and the blindly and mindlessly by the implicit the sexual abuse, had a particular
body, and there is also a flow of energy glacier, we develop the capacity for way of seeing themselves that was
and information coming up from the transformed in my ritual. Constellation
body, especially from the vagus nerve, experiences, with their capacity to
to inform the skull brain about how we invite us into an integrated story about
are doing in the world. In my healing ourselves, our birth families and our
experience, the message my body was Constellation work ancestors, and the larger stories of
trying to convey to my brain was finally both brings the our family history, are a tremendous
received. When we experience family force for narrative integration.
constellation work, the body begins to people in our world
speak its truth to our skull brains, with
all its information about how close we
to life, and helps us
State Integration
feel to the people in our world, whether understand that we
they can see us, and who we can see.
are separate from Which emotion is dominant for
you? Do you think of yourself as a

them. It supports calm person? As an angry person?
Horizontal Integration As a frightened, anxious person?
differentiation and Whatever flavour of emotion you
We are dual processors. Our left linkage, the pinnacle experience most often would be your
hemisphere sees the world, including emotional state. Persistent negative
the people in it, as a collection of of integration. feelings (depression, anxiety, irritation
tools and strategies, manoeuvring and anger, unrelenting grief) are
us to our best advantage and for our unintegrated, all-consuming states.
accomplishment. It is our engine for In our complex world, an integrated
movement through the world. Our right clear choice, authentic self-expression, brain moves in and out of the emotions
hemisphere, on the other hand, sees and for being inspired by our passions, that are necessary to preserve
a world full of souls, of individuals, an rather than compelled by our pain. In equilibrium and give us information
interconnected web of the universe. my ritual, an enormous piece of my about what is most important in our
Life is sacred, and its implications are glacier of implicit, unknown pain, fell environment and what we need to
infinite. (McGilchrist, 2012). These into the sea of the explicit. As people learn. There was a persistent rage
are two different ways of being in receive the resonant holding of effective within me before I received help
the world, almost mutually exclusive. constellation work, be it traditional from Jane Peterson. As constellation
And its tricky to integrate them. As work with trans-generational healing, work lifts implicit intergenerational
our right pre-frontal cortex, with its or the more modern approaches to burdens off the seeker, persistent
capacity for vision and integrity, begins working with trauma, as memory is emotional states can become
to offer us a guiding light, and our left integrated, seekers become more fluid and flexible, leading to state
hemisphere takes effective action in effective and happy livers of life. integration and allowing more pleasant
accordance with those longings, we emotional states to have a chance
can step into our best selves. In my to become our baseline (our traits).
experience, the limitations of being a

25
Temporal Integration other generations and ancestors? My differentiated in their parts, and more
constellation supported me to fully and more linked this essential quality
We live within a number of different receive the support of past generations, of integration brings a complex system
chronological systems: from minute- to feel myself a part of something to its best expression. Our relationships
to-minute, from day-to-day, in scales larger and extended through time. This with others need to be both linked
of weeks, months, seasons, years, is one of the primary and surprising and differentiated we need to have a
stages of life, generations, epochs, integrative gifts of constellations. sense of ourselves as our own selves,
centuries, millennia, geological periods, and we need to have a sense of being
in relationship to the Big Bang. How connected with the other, in order to
do we see ourselves within these have real relationship. However, lots of
different timelines? Do we remember
Interpersonal Integration
people move through a world where
what day of the week it is? Do we Our relationships with other people are they are the only significant inhabitant,
know that the leaves are changing what create and organise our neural or where they dont exist at all. Lots
colour now? Do we think of ourselves matter. We are never supposed to of other people move through a world
as being our current age? And, very be isolated from relationship. Infants where only other people exist, or where
importantly for participants in family and mothers are indivisible dyads. All they only exist as a part of others. As
constellation work, do we have a of the previously discussed patterns my healing happened, I was able to
sense of ourselves as part of a larger of integration allow our embodied step more fully into relationship with
family timeline, one which includes brains to become more and more others, a process that is still unfolding.
Constellation work both brings the
people in our world to life, and helps us
understand that we are separate from
them. It supports differentiation and
Interpersonal Neurobiology Reading List linkage, the pinnacle of integration.

Being a Brain-Wise Therapist: A Practical Guide to Transpirational Integration


Interpersonal Neurobiology (Norton Series on Interpersonal
Neurobiology) by Bonnie Badenoch, 2008 How are we connected with something
beyond ourselves? What is our sense
The Brain-Savvy Therapists Workbook (Norton Series on of spirituality, of things greater than
Interpersonal Neurobiology) by Bonnie Badenoch, 2011 humanity? This is also an area of
integration, and it leads us back to
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate,
the full complexity of the first form of
MD. North Atlantic Books, 2010
integration presence. I hope I have
The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the invited you into a celebration of the
Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist, 2010 gorgeous unfolding of integration
that constellation work provides.
Parenting From the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell 2004

The Neurobiology of We: How Relationships, the Mind, and


the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (Sounds True Audio
Learning Course) by Daniel J. Siegel (Audio CD, 2008) REFERENCES

The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Damasio, A. (1999) The Feeling of


Social Brain by Louis Cozolino, 2010 What Happens: Body and Emotion
in the Making of Consciousness.
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Harcourt, Brace and Company,
New York, NY, USA.
Transformation by Daniel Siegel, 2010
McGilchrist, I. (2012) The Master and
the knowing field

The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the his Emissary: The Divided Brain and
Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel J. Siegel 2007 the making of the Western World. Yale
University Press, New Haven, CT, USA.
The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact
Siegel, D. J. (2012) The Developing
to Shape Who We Are by Daniel J. Siegel 2nd edition 2012
Mind: How Relationships and the Brain
interact to shape who we are (2nd ed.).
The Mindful Therapist by Daniel Siegel, 2010 W.W. Norton, New York, NY, USA.

The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental
Force by Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley, 2003
26
New Developments

the knowing field


The Field and the Mind in the light of Physics

Olav Drageset

Olav Drageset is a retired electronics engineer with a career as concept


engineer for designing communication equipment for the military field
environment. He has been practising and teaching Acem meditation for
more than 40 years. During the last decade he has studied physics in order
to explain mind phenomena based on physical theories. He has published
a book and two peer reviewed scientific articles on the subject.

olav@drageset.net
www.amatterofmind.net

Introduction If non-physical is a real quality if The background for this article is an


non-physical phenomena are based on enduring effort to understand the
The systemic constellations matter and energy with real but different mind in connection with practising
community uses The Field or properties from physical matter and and teaching meditation in Acem1, a
The Knowing Field as a term for energy then non-physical matter must school of meditation. A meditation
phenomena not yet explained by be part of a particle-physics theory psychology has been developed which
science. I call these phenomena that also describes normal matter, has helped people to get faster and
non-physical in line with other mental time and space, which are the basic deeper results from practising the
and spiritual phenomena such as building blocks of our universe. This technique. Embedded in the meditation
thoughts, consciousness, emotions, article argues that an existing particle- psychology is a conception of the
personality, telepathy, mind, spirits, physics theory, called string theory, can mind which I have made explicit with
demons, gods etc. Understanding model/describe both particles of the some new expressions and views such
non-physical phenomena seems to physical universe and particles of the as described below. Acems mind
be the last field of knowledge that mind. If the model I propose is correct, model is strictly based on experience,
has not migrated from being based the behaviour of non-physical matter not on philosophy or religion and it
on philosophy to being based on as determined by string theory would is believed to be compatible with
science. This article supports an effort explain and support experiences from modern psychology and neuroscience2.
to make non-physical understood introspection, constellations, psychic Scientific documentation of the results
in the light of natural sciences. sances and other mental phenomena. of meditation using the mind model
is under way (Davanger, S. et al 2008)
but science is a slow process.

27
I am proposing a new interpretation requires the real world to have qualities they have not yet demonstrated how
of string theory that allows the mind that cannot be observed (e.g. seven memories are stored or retrieved. The
model and the string theory to meet extra dimensions and many different systemic constellations community
on common ground shaping a particles). String theory is based on established The Knowing Field as a
new cosmic model. Even if this very complex mathematics, but its name of an assumed storage medium
model turns out to be supported by results are explained for non-specialists extending beyond the individual. Based
scientists, it will probably have no in simple terms by proponents of the on introspective work with meditation,
direct impact on constellation work. theory (Greene, B. 2004; Halpern, P. it seems to me that the mind is a real,
The main impact will be a greater 2004) and critically by Woit, P. (2006). non-physical entity independent of
acceptance of constellation work Below, I propose a new interpretation and separate from the brain and that
among scientists. If the model does of the string theory. It turns out that it stores all kinds of psychological
not gain acceptance, it could anyway the non-verified requirements from content. I see the Knowing Field
be interesting for the reader to learn string theory can be met if the string as a part of this kind of a mind.
of a way in which mental phenomena theory is assumed to describe both
could be connected to physics and the physical universe and the mind Any of us can relate to the content
natural sciences. The description of with its non-physical content. of the mind with psychological
the mind given below may also be capabilities such as directing our
helpful for some workers of the mind. attention, suppressing content or
allowing content into our awareness,
Be aware that scientific models
are never fully proven. Accepted
We can say that an holding on to content or letting it go.
These capabilities are controlled by
models have, however, a high level of intuitive thought the will. The content of the mind that
confidence. The explanations given we observe, thoughts, emotions,
below are proposals and not proven collapses into a images etc, are all spontaneous
in any way, but the mind model and specific incarnation activity which is not controlled by
the string theory seem to support our will. Acem consider that we
each other, which is a certain type of in time and space. can control only where attention is
evidence, indicating that the model
could reach some acceptance.
For another person directed and how wide/open or
narrow/concentrated the attention
at another time, the should be, but that we cannot control
which thoughts we finally perceive.
same thought could
Scientific Background
collapse into a very At first glance each mind seems to
be individual, but some content also
The Standard Model of Particle
Physics is a quantum-field different incarnation, seems to be accessible to other
persons in situations such as telepathy
theory where particles and forces but it would express and constellations. When we shut our
are modelled (i.e. described by
mathematical equations) as wrapped- the same basic eyes and direct our attention inwards,
we are aware of a psychological
up pieces of a field. It can model
all known particles and three of the
quality or insight universe which is common for all of us.
four known forces, which are the when related to its The outer physical universe contains
trees, mountains, suns and galaxies;
electromagnetic force, the strong and
the weak nuclear forces, but not the time and place. I see rational thinking and the rational
part of the mind as connected to this
fourth gravity. All physicists agree
external universe. In contrast, the
that this is a good model, but they also
psychological universe contains among
agree that the model is incomplete
other things psychological residues.
since it does not include gravity. An
Each residue is a container for
alternative is string theory, which
models elementary particles and the
A Conception of the Mind emotions, memories, images, values,
self images and something we could
spaces in which they exist. String
the knowing field

The mind is what we observe when we call world-view or philosophy. Each


theory, which is a candidate for being shut our eyes and introspect. Thoughts, residue represents a certain situation or
a Theory of Everything, can model images and emotions come and go. psychological complex. Some residues
gravity in addition to all other known They are stored in the mind and we are strongly emotionally charged,
particles and forces. This theory has can direct our attention to different some of which may be the result of
been developed by thousands of content. Neurologists know which traumas. Non-charged residues are
physicists over several decades, but parts of the brain are active when plain memories. When our attention
is not widely accepted because it storing and retrieving memories but comes close to, or is embedded in, a
28
the knowing field
residue, the charge will tend to hold our of the personality, e.g. a problem quantum waves3 in that they contain
attention and the content will influence may no longer seem problematic. a complex whole that can collapse
us in a way that mimics the unfinished into a certain phenomenon that varies
situation. We have a chance to act Intuitive thoughts and other entities with the circumstances to which the
differently and reduce the charge. This of the intuitional universe are non- quantum wave or intuitive thought is
stress-relieving function is supported phenomenal in the sense that they applied. The intuitional universe can
by various meditation techniques. If cannot be perceived by our rational be called a quantum wave universe.
we avoid directing our attention to or mythological part-minds. They do
the residue, the charge will probably not have a particular expression that Just as we have a psyche, which is
increase and the residue will unwittingly we can attach a name to, but they can part of the psychological universe, I
influence us in unexpected ways. be transformed to (or collapse to) a also consider that a more enduring
multitude of rational and mythological part of ourselves belongs in the more
The distance in the psychological thinking that expresses some qualities timeless intuitional universe. We could
universe is measured by emotional of the intuitional thought when call it personality and a Self. I think it
distance. Emotionally connected associated to a certain time and matches fairly well to the general use
residues are close to each other. place. Intuitional thoughts are difficult of these expressions. Two persons
The thoughts and emotions of to perceive, not because they are with a good chemistry feel close
our loved ones are also close to unconscious but because they cannot even if they are not physically close or
us in this universe. Unlike rational be perceived directly by our rational emotionally close. Their personalities
thinking associated with the physical or mythological part-minds. A more are close in the intuitional universe,
universe, the psychological universe refined but usually dormant part of where separation is measured as
is associated with a magical- quality difference. While in deep sleep
mythical part of the mind and with I consider our attention is completely
mythical thinking. While dreaming, embedded in the intuitional universe.
our attention is fully embedded While in deep
As I have understood constellation
in the psychological universe.
sleep I consider work through my wife, it seems
A completely different part of the mind our attention to reveal content of psychological
can be observed where the content residues held by persons represented
of the mind is very still and the sense is completely in the constellation. Efficient techniques
of time is not present, or is at least
different. You can come into contact
embedded in the are developed for doing this. People
who are emotionally connected have
with this in precious moments, such as intuitional universe. their psychological residues stored
when you are in front of a fire, hiking closely in the psychological universe,
in the mountains or when sitting in and so they will influence each other
meditation. The spontaneous activity more strongly than emotionally
of the mind in these situations is our mind is required for perception remote persons. Residues can be
much feebler than during rational and of these entities, our intuitional part- individual, but can also be part of
magical thinking. I assume this part of mind. Intuitive entities resemble an emotional body of an emotionally
the mind to be in a separate universe holographic images that contain a bound group and can stay active
where our attention can linger: the large amount of possibilities that can and influence several generations.
intuitional universe. (Note that this be projected into the physical and
definition of intuitive may differ from The target of constellation work is
psychological universes as specific
other usage). The content can be more probably to reduce the charge of
phenomena adapted to circumstances.
ambiguous but can also contain much residues held by clients, thereby
After grasping an intuitive thought,
more compact information, such as facilitating behavioural changes in
it can sometimes take days, weeks
a single idea that can be expanded them. Something can probably be
or months to shape it into a specific
to become a complex machine or a achieved by just revealing the content
theory, piece of art, product or way of
whole symphony. What we receive of hidden structures. Some structures
behaviour. We can say that an intuitive
from this second inner universe, I are, however, very widely rooted
thought collapses into a specific
call intuitive thoughts. Such intuitive and require more enduring efforts.
incarnation in time and space. For
thoughts are however more difficult Experience from psychoanalysis,
another person at another time, the
to perceive than thoughts from the other psychological treatment and
same thought could collapse into a
rational or psychological part-minds. meditation indicate that substantial
very different incarnation, but it would
Grasping such an ephemeral thought changes of personality and structures
express the same basic quality or
can cause changes in perspective of the intuitional universe require years
insight when related to its time and
and how we relate to psychological and even a lifetime of process work.
place. Intuitive thoughts resemble
residues a shift in the organisation Content of the intuitional universe is
29
probably what is passed on through spaces of the mind could be two other 3. Quantum waves explained on Internet:
incarnations (assuming that happens). branes. The string theory defines how http://newton.physics.uiowa.edu/~umallik/
adventure/quantumwave.html http://
matter from different branes interacts. arstechnica.com/science/2011/11/
String theory also predicts many the-insanely-weird-quantum-wave-
different elementary particles that have function-might-be-real-after-all/
How the String Theory
never been found in real life. If these
and the Mind Model 4. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/
particles are part of branes other than
support each other Space_Science/First_3D_map_of_the_
that of the physical universe, they will Universe_s_dark_matter_scaffolding
There are many models that try to not be seen by the particle detectors
5. http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/
describe the mind in various ways. currently in use. In other words, string focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/
The one given above is the only one, theory has predicted matter particles
as far as I know, that is supported by that can make up mental matter where 6. Information can be found on
Internet at amatterofmind.net
a particle-physics theory, in this case psychological residues can be stored.
string theory. This model enables the In my formulation of string theory, it can
mind to be part of a single theory enable the storage of memories, make
describing a cosmos containing both up the bodies of angels and ghosts and REFERENCES
physical and non-physical matter. support phenomena such as moving
Davanger, S. et al (2008) Halvor Eifring,
This not only supports non-physical physical objects by mental energy. Anne Grete Hersoug: Fighting Stress:
phenomena as real and part of the Reviews of meditation research,
The measurements of dark matter4 Acem Publishing, Oslo, Norway.
cosmos, but it also supports string
and dark energy5 cannot be explained
theory as a Theory of Everything Greene, B. (2004) The Fabric
by the existing models of the physical
finding, which has been a major quest of the Cosmos, Penguin
universe. The measurements are Books Ltd, London, UK.
for physicists for 150 years. Below
elegantly explained by string theory,
I give a short explanation of how Halpern, P. (2004) The Great
if dark matter and dark energy are
string theory and the mind model Beyond, John Wiley & Sons
matter contained in two branes inc, New Jersey, USA.
are able to support each other.
that are different from the physical
The string theory assumes that universe. In other words, dark matter Woit, P. (2006) Not even Wrong,
Basic Books, Perseus Books
elementary particles (the smallest and dark energy could be matter
Group, New York. USA.
pieces of matter and force) are contained in the psychological
made by vibrating strings instead of universe and the intuitional universe. Drageset, O. (2012) A Matter of Mind:
Exploring the 11-Dimensional Cosmos,
being points with no extension. The
A full discussion and further Ado Publishing, Oslo 2nd edition.
mathematical equations require the
explanation of identity, consciousness, Drageset, O. (2013 March) How
strings to vibrate in nine independent
communication between different Physics could explain the mind,
directions. We have only three
universes and the mystic experience Physics Essays no 26. pp. 7-14.
independent directions in our physical
exceed the limits of this article
universe. If a string can vibrate in three
and can be found in (Drageset,
different universes simultaneously, the
O. 2012; Drageset, O. 2013)6.
requirement of the equations would
be satisfied. The two spaces of the
mind (the psychological and intuitive
universes) can be seen as universes Acknowledgement
that are as big as the physical universe,
although they are parallel and different. I am grateful to my wife and
Assuming that these two mind constellations therapist Kari Drageset
universes are the other two universes for her help with this article.
required by string theory satisfies
the equations, as well as giving us a
view of what the mind really can be. Notes:
the knowing field

String theory requires the real world to 1. Acem international: http://acem.com


have spaces (called branes) where 2. For the time being, four professors of
the ends of open strings are attached. medicine, including one in neurology,
Branes have not been observed, except one professor of psychology and
several psychologists and medical
for one that could be the physical
doctors with a PhD teach Acem
universe, but, as argued above, the two meditation on a voluntary basis.

30
the knowing field
Constellations
Five Elements Constellations
Emerson Bastos

Emerson Bastos, MRSS, is a registered Shiatsu Practitioner and Teacher


and Constellations Facilitator. He gained a degree in Physical Education
when he was still living in Brazil, his birth place. Since 1987 he has been
living in London and has a Diploma in Shiatsu. He has worked for over 20
years with complementary therapies both as Practitioner and teacher, training
future practitioners and running his own workshops. His experience with
constellation work started in 2004. After a while, he trained in family/systemic
constellations with the Centre for Systemic Constellation (CSC). His main
interest in working with clients with Shiatsu or constellation work has always
been in finding, the source, the cause. Where is the energy not flowing?
and supporting the possibility for its release and having this available to ones
life. He has combined the constellation approach with the five elements theory
from Oriental Medicine and has been running Five Elements Constellation
workshops for nearly two years now, both in London and in Crete. He is currently
undergoing Gestalt Psychotherapy training at the Gestalt Centre in London.

shiatsuemerson@hotmail.com
www.emersonbastos.shiatsusociety.org

BACKGROUND

I have been involved with complementary therapies since 1989 when I attended an
Acupressure course. The experience led me to investigate the field further and in 1996 after
three years of study, I gained a Diploma in Shiatsu and have been in full-time practice since
then. I learnt and became familiarised with Five Elements theory (explained later) during my
Acupressure and Shiatsu training. This was a big departure from the Physical Education
degree I had spent four years of full time studies to achieve when I was still living in Brazil.

In 2004 I came across Family Constellations. After attending some


workshops I had the opportunity to join the training course with the Centre
for Systemic Constellations (CSC) in London (formerly CSISS).

31
FIRE
Five Elements Theory
The five elements refer to five Small Three
Intestine Heater
categories in the natural world,
namely: Wood, Fire, Earth, Peri-
Heart cardium
Metal and Water. The theory of the five
elements holds that all phenomena WOOD EARTH
in the universe correspond in nature
either to Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal or
Gall Stomach
Water, and that these are in a state Bladder
of constant motion and change. Liver Spleen

Although having different


characteristics, the five materials
depend on each other and are
inseparable. Thus in ancient times,
people took these five elements with
their mutual relationships to explain
all phenomena in the natural world. Kidneys Lungs
In traditional Chinese medicine the
theory of the five elements is applied to Bladder Colon
generalise and explain the nature of all
internal organs, the inter-relationships
between them, and the relationship WATER METAL
between human beings and the natural
world. It thus serves to guide clinical
diagnosis and treatment. (Fig.1) Fig.1

Creative Cycle
It follows that Earth is the child of Fire, FIRE
Fire is the child of Wood, Wood is the
child of Water, Water is the child of
Heart & Small
Metal and Metal is the child of Earth. Intestine
Joy/Mind/Spirit
Creates Earth
When the child screams Supports Metal
treat the parent
WOOD EARTH
Chinese proverb
Liver &
Gallbladder
Stomach & Spleen
Anger/
Worry/Thinking
Frustration
Supportive Cycle Creates Fire
Creates Metal
Supports Water
Controls Earth
One element supports the element after
the one immediately next to it, ensuring
balance and health, as shown in Fig.2.

Fire supports Metal


Metal supports Wood
Wood supports Earth Bladder &
the knowing field

Lungs/Large
Kidneys
Earth supports Water Ancestral Energy
Intestine
Grief/Melancholy
Water supports Fire Fear
Creates Water
Creates Wood
Supports Wood
Supports Fire
The Creative and Supportive cycles
are the healthy, ideal ways the
elements, organs and their associated WATER METAL
emotional states, relate to one another.
Fig.2
32
the knowing field
However, when one element or any I then asked the five representatives if it. When the element representative
aspect of what is associated with there was a spontaneous movement who was occupying a different place
it, is too strong, or too weak, it can to follow it. They allowed themselves to their own, returned to their place,
disrupt the ideal cycles causing to move at this point. After a while everyone agreed they felt better too.
imbalances and affecting health they stopped at a place that felt
and harmony. Symptoms begin to good for them and all the other After a long while contemplating the
appear and can lead to illness. four representatives also liked. idea, I have now been running Five
Elements Constellation workshops
For example, when, the emotions At this moment I asked them to look for nearly two years in London
associated with the Wood element towards the person standing on their and more recently in Crete too.
come through too strongly, this left side as in the Creative Cycle. They
may affect the overall balance of all, in unison, said it felt great. Following The procedure involved in constellating
the cycles. Instead of Wood being that I asked them to look left towards the five elements in a public workshop
created and nourished by Water the second person along on their is different from a traditional
it may be insulting it, and/or over- left side as in the Supportive cycle. constellation workshop. After an initial
reacting towards Metal. It can also They again said it felt even better. explanation of both processes, we
become overbearing for Fire and Earth initiate the work with the client blindly
the elements Wood is supposed The experiment went much deeper constellating the five elements. The
to be creating and supporting. and confirmed in a very clear way the client knows who is representing which
relationship between the five elements. element. After the initial placement of
I was flabbergasted, and so were all the five representatives, some time is
given to allow them to feel themselves
Constellating the into their representation and follow any
Five Elements spontaneous movement and feed back
After an initial their experience both within themselves
Four years ago I constellated for
the first time the five elements explanation of both and in relation to the others. Once this
process is complete, the representation
as an experiment. It was a blind
constellation with people who knew
processes, we is revealed and noted on a flip chart.
about the five elements theory but initiate the work with The client and I sit together and
look at what is being shown in the
who werent at the time aware of the
constellation approach at all. When
the client blindly constellation of the five elements. We
take into account: their positioning in
I proposed the experiment, they constellating the relationship to each other, how each
were not aware we were going to do
anything related to the five elements. five elements. of them is feeling in themselves and
towards the other elements, and the
I gave five pieces of paper to five direction they are looking in, together
different participants in the group. On with their facial expression. We then
each piece of paper was written the the participants of the group when I compare these with the Creative and
name of one of the elements. I then revealed the nature of the experiment. Supportive cycles. The issue holder,
placed each person as we normally We were all completely speechless. with the five elements constellation
do in a constellation workshop information shown in front of them,
In my view, the Creative and Supportive then reflects on their original reason
and purposely placed two of the
cycles are comparable to the Orders for joining the workshop and decides
elements in the wrong order.
of Love and have a very important whether they need to continue
After a little while I asked for feedback place in five elements constellations. from this point and if so, how.
from each of the five representatives.
When I constellated the five elements, In some cases the information provided
They all agreed they didnt feel
and the elements were placed in the by the five elements constellation
right. The three in the right place
ideal order and relating to one another has been enough for the issue
liked one another but couldnt relate
in accordance with the two cycles holder. Sometimes they want to look
in a good way to the two elements
mentioned above, the representatives at an issue they brought which is
placed in the wrong position. The
felt good, supported, and safe. They important to them, whether it has
two representatives who were not in
were in their rightful place, where shown up during the five elements
their places according to the Creative
harmony and health had a chance. And constellation or not. They may decide
and Supportive cycle felt not right.
when I purposely in blind constellations to continue with what was shown
As I mentioned earlier they didnt
placed them in different places, the in the five elements constellation.
know at the time that they were doing
other representatives did not feel
anything related to the five elements.
good, comfortable, or right about

33
When the client chooses to continue down in tears and said: I have done participants who didnt know much
with the five elements constellation, the this my entire life, Im tired of it. about either. Therefore at the beginning
representatives for each element often of each workshop it is necessary for
morph into a person, or a situation, Another client placed all the elements me to explain both approaches.
or an intense emotion that belongs to in the right place but all of them were
their personal history, or to someone or looking to their their right instead Initially, what attracted me to
somewhere in their system that has not of looking leftwards. When I said systemic work, was the way in
yet been fully processed and is active everything seemed to be in the right which a constellation can take you
in the persons field, affecting their place but going backwards and no- to a core issue with little or no telling
life, making things difficult for them. one was moving forward, the client of stories about what happened.
with a big sigh said: That is it. Ive also had the experience of
Since I started combining the Five something in me changing on a
Elements theory with constellations deep level and this change has had
I have observed various dynamics a beneficial effect on my life without
present. Here are some of them: This combination me having to consciously act on it.

n Unprocessed grief in the system of two approaches


manifesting in the Metal element
and affecting its relationship from very different Looking Forward
with the other elements. origins has opened And as far as Five Elements
n Torture and exploitation in up a new access Constellation work is concerned it is
definitely early days. This combination
ones ancestry line, manifesting
as a mental health issue gate and my of these two approaches from
very different origins has opened
in the Fire element.
experience with up a new access gate and my
n An unavailable parent affecting this so far has been experience with it so far has been
the Water element. very encouraging, potentially reaching
very encouraging. people who might otherwise not have
n An excluded former lover of a considered this type of work before.
parent affecting the Metal element.
The mystery, depth, and effectiveness
n A forgotten aborted child After this initial revelation or of constellation work, I believe is
affecting the Earth element. assessment of the hidden dynamics part of the great attraction it has. An
of the five elements, I am continuing added attraction is the possibility
n These dynamics of course
to try and find a possible freeing up of of working with the Field and
had an impact on the overall
the contractions and stuckness that approaching it from different entry
relationship of the Five Elements.
might be present, thus supporting points and different perspectives.
movement towards more balanced
Creative and Supportive cycles.
Examples Notes:
Participants of the workshops I have
I witnessed one client placing the thus far run have been mostly people 1. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion,
elements in reverse order, i.e. Earth who knew about the five elements Foreign Language Press - Beijing
before Fire. When I verbalised to the theory and had little or no prior Pages 18/19 First Edition 1987
client that the element trying to nurture knowledge of constellation work. A few 2. Loves own Truths (2001) by Bert
the one before, is like a child trying of them knew about the constellation Hellinger. Published by Zeig, Tucker
to nurture a parent rather than being work and not much about the five & Theisen, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
nurtured by them, the client broke elements theory. I have also had
the knowing field

34
Constellations

the knowing field


Kids Constellations
Teaching Principles of Family
Constellations to Children in School

Sharon V. Ruvane MS CCC-SLP

Sharon Ruvane is an educator who has watched children labelled as LD


and ADHD struggle with finding their place in school for over a decade. An
ASHA Certified Speech and Language Pathologist and a Family Constellations
Facilitator, Sharon graduated from Rollins College and received her masters
degree from the University of Vermont. Her constellations training was completed
in Connecticut in 2013. Sharon lives in Avon, Connecticut and works in the
Farmington Public Schools. She credits her own family, including her children
Gretchen and Harry, for having given her the insight to view the universe as
simultaneously full of twinkling stars, great balls of fire, and black holes.

info@kidsconstellations.com
Kidsconstellations.com

It all began with a belief that children


in school would be excited to learn the
Who wouldnt want I work with students in Special
Education. My learning group includes
Principles of Family Constellations. to improve their those labelled as Learning Disabled,
Who wouldnt want to improve their with Attention Deficit Disorder,
sense of belonging in a place where
sense of belonging and Autism. Not yet versed in the
they spend 40 hours a week? It seemed in a place where principle that we all belong, many
obvious (at least to me) this hypothesis of my students feel less than most
would be easy to prove, except for they spend 40 of the time. Surrounded by peers
one small variable: The students I
teach are eight to eleven years old.
hours a week? answering questions more quickly
and easily for almost eight hours a
day, little beings become deflated.
Could the pre-adolescent brain grasp been trained alongside fellow educators
Anxiety and impulsiveness spike as the
the concepts of systemic thinking? in a powerful systemic process
threads of connection simultaneously
Would eight year olds be interested called The Responsive Classroom.
become frayed. The chronic effect
in going deeper or eleven year olds Both initiatives I was familiar with
is that feelings of exclusion begin to
capable of interacting supportively were implemented mainly within the
outweigh the diagnosed skill deficits.
with one another? I was already a fan classroom. Since I worked with small
of the school-based systemic work groups mostly outside the classroom, Following the Sandy Hook tragedy,
spearheaded by Judith Hemming in the I wondered what else might work. school climate research would indicate
United Kingdom through the nowhere that more children than we first
In my 20-year career as a school based
foundation. In the United States, I had realised are not making connections
speech and language pathologist,
35
in school. If we could teach the I needed to figure out the actual
principles of family constellations specifics of adapting the principles
directly to children, I thought this of family constellations for children. I
would place powerful tools for borrowed the idea of creating my own
connection gently into smaller hands. constellations group from Dan Booth
Cohen. While studying for an MBA
As the creation of the actual on the way to earning his PhD in the
programme began, dozens of Family Constellations process, Dan
questions swirled through my being lacked a client base from which to cull
like a series of small tornados. How groups. He overcame this obstacle by
was I going to describe this already creating his own group through sharing
difficult to describe work? Would family constellations with prisoners
my young audience be interested or at the Bay State Correctional Facility
their parents keen to sign them up? in Massachusetts. In a conversation
What steps should I take to gather with Dan, he shared that members
support from administrators and staff of his group were very quick to tell
within my own school system? him what was or wasnt working.
Specifics related to procedure seemed Reactions from children also tend to
daunting. How was I going to structure be quick and honest. I was braced
the programme? Teach the essence for a worst-case scenario a journey
of Hellingers work? Create activities akin to that of Odysseus where
that children would respond to? My favourite tree at school is
dangerous situations and mutinous
What should my group be called? near our playground. When we
behaviour were lurking at every
play tag at recess, the tree is our
base. Its safety. Jarrett, age 11. turn. At the same time, I was equally
Deciding to call my group Kids
optimistic holding on to my original
Constellations gave me a starting point.
beliefs that children would simply
Why an educator with a speciality in
experience healing while having fun.
Communication Sciences decided
to become a family constellations With the fiery sparks of after-school
with: What is an educator going
facilitator in the first place, is an enthusiasm, Kids Constellations rolled
to do with this training? I love and
important preceding element. into the universe. Having just heard the
value my place in education and
Briefly, heres what happened. 3pm dismissal bell, nine 4th- 6th graders,
had no plans to switch careers.
raced to see who could capture the few
To my hesitations, my therapist friend prized seats on the big bouncy purple
If we could teach replied: If you enrol, you will find chairs in our newly renovated library.
the principles of out. As if Yoda, herself, had spoken,
I turned inward and contemplated I took a deep breath and remained
family constellations the statement. I sensed immediately slightly detached from my maternally
inherited inclination to protect the
what personal growth might occur
directly to children, by spending a year with 25 fellow furniture at all costs. Unaware of
the world of phenomenology and
I thought this would students of the Hellinger work I loved
not even knowing each other, I felt
and four teachers, including Ed Lynch.
place powerful tools fairly confident that these children
Next, I opened up to the idea that a would respond well to my classroom
for connection gently professional opportunity was standing management skills. On the other hand I
into smaller hands. in front of me. While immersed within a was stepping out, constellations style,
into the complete unknown. My attempt
phenomenological space of 30 fellow
healers for an entire year, I could create to teach an after-school enrichment
a Family Constellations programme for programme for children, based on
A dear friend who had already enrolled
the knowing field

my students. It all came into focus and Bert Hellingers Family Constellations
in the Connecticut Facilitator Training seemed to make sense, so I enrolled. had begun. In a 60-minute per
Programme for Family Constellations week, six-week programme my
suggested that I join. Though I In September 2012, Kids Constellations plan was to deliver child-friendly
was already a student of family was launched at the elementary school lessons that would strengthen their
constellations and fellow disciple in Connecticut where I was teaching connections to themselves, each
of Ed Lynch, PhD for more than a for my eighth year. While hoping other, and ultimately to their school.
few years, I remember countering to share fun activities for healing,

36
the knowing field
At the same time, Give and Take, and Big and Small
have differing responsibilities.
I was equally
I made up most of my own activities.
optimistic holding One week we constructed family

on to my original trees, using graphic organisers


and a tree visual that I had found
beliefs that children online. Approaching genealogy with
children took time, but they loved it.
would simply They found common ground, talking
experience healing about who was oldest, or youngest,
or a middle child. Stories about
while having fun. pets, especially those predating the Love is a Balance of Give and
students, were important elements Take is one of Kids Constellations
three guiding principles.
of their ancestral connections.

For the Balance of Give and Take,


I entrusted students with the task
of playing tug of war with a large
Finally gathered into a quiet enough eleven year old opened up about
therapy band. Everyone loved the
circle, we began our first session by the social pressures of sixth grade,
idea of pulling the band a bit too
sharing about ourselves, including describing cliques to younger students
much, then allowing it to go slack. The
why we had come to this group. There not fully aware of what was to come.
analogy to life was pretty clear, and
were individual reasons for joining, A quiet third grader shared that she
of course, the band did manage to
including one response from a boy who was a little bit afraid of walking down
snap a few times during the exercise,
thought he had signed up for after- the hall in the sixth grade wing. The
despite cautions to be careful.
school basketball. The overwhelming honesty and depth of the conversation
theme was that most had joined to do I borrowed a nature constellation amazed me. Our group members
fun activities and make new friends. from Francesca Mason Boring. In were feeling safe with each other, had
her exercise with adults, she asks developed a sense of trust, and were
During the course of the six week sharing concerns close to their hearts.
participants to pair up and take turns
session, I focused on teaching
sharing about a tree from childhood.
Bert Hellingers Orders of Love: Following the discussion of seniority,
For my group of youngsters, still in
We All Belong, Life is a Balance of I expanded the exercise by setting
childhood, I gave them a week to
up two lines of children older
investigate the trees around them
and younger. I suggested stem
at school and to identify a favourite.
sentences from each to the other,
When we came together, they shared
followed by healing statements.
about their selections. Our collection
included a strong poplar used as a Im a little bit afraid of you,
base in Freeze Tag, a haggard conifer, became: Im a little bit afraid of
and a solid oak at the outskirts of the you, but want to know you.
school perimeter. We took pictures
to celebrate ourselves with our trees Im curious about you, became:
and to honour the collective system. Even though I am a cool sixth
grader, I am interested in knowing
At first, I found the principle of seniority you, and helping you, too.
the most challenging order to teach.
With visions of uniformed school There were individual variations
children and stern nuns from my former on the sentences, such as:
elementary school dancing in my head,
I was afraid of this principle sounding Im taller than the normal fourth
dictatorial. Not entirely sure of what grader, so Im not as afraid
to do, I taught into the discomfort. of you older students.
I initiated a discussion, asking sixth
Giggly responses from pre-adolescents
graders to share their experiences
not quite ready to say anything at
of being the oldest members in our
all were also common. Some of
Sharon Ruvane, creator of school, and fourth graders to express
these giggles were crushes, later
Kids Constellations how it felt to be the youngest. An

37
discussed with the school psychologist
in individual therapy sessions.
More than 75% of deeper relationships with an adult
as well as with peers. According to
the same students current research in school climate,
About mid-way through the first Mrs. Shaw shared that developing
session of Kids Constellations, the re-enrolled in these connections to adults can
excitement for our weekly gatherings
gained momentum. Positive comments
the programme, help to prevent school violence.

as well as questions about what we and additional As for what the children thought?
were doing became the buzz in the When our senior member of Kids
school hall throughout the week. children took the Constellations and soonto-be
Supportive emails arrived from parents. remaining places. graduate of our elementary school
Amanda Shaw, my schools Principal, was asked if children of different
offered her full support. I began to ages and at other schools would
touch base regularly with Jen Harris, benefit from our programme, he
our schools psychologist, about To get feedback about how the work replied: Yes, you should start Kids
childrens needs for individual support. had helped, we interviewed parents, Constellations at my new school!
As the childrens connections to their administrators and the children
school strengthened, so did mine. themselves. Emails and cards of
appreciation arrived of their own Notes:
At the end of the six weeks, they were
volition. Children, who did not always
still enjoying the programme and To see inspiring visuals and quotes used
make good friends in school, were for our programme, check out Kids
it was clear that a second session
finding deeper connections. Parents Constellations on Pinterest. http://pinterest.
should be offered. More than 75%
not only noticed, but also demonstrated com/sruvane/kids-constellations/
of the same students re-enrolled
support when the overwhelming
in the programme, and additional For more information about Kids
majority of them re-enrolled their Constellations including upcoming
children took the remaining places.
children for a second session. events, check our website: http://
kidsconstellations.com/
After a year-long investigation, it
When we interviewed Amanda Shaw,
seemed clear that children were
our school Principal, her feedback
capable of understanding Bert
about Kids Constellations was that
Hellingers Orders of Love and were
children were able to feel a sense of
excited to participate in fun activities
belonging at school by developing
that also helped to heal them.
the knowing field

38
Constellations

the knowing field


A Remarkable Constellation

Francesca Mason Boring

Francesca Mason Boring is a facilitator and trainer of Family Systems


Constellation. An enrolled member of the Shoshone Nation, she is the
Co-Editor of Returning to Membership in Earth Community: Systemic
Constellations with Nature (Stream of Experience Productions, 2013), author
of Connecting to Our Ancestral Past; Healing through Family Constellation,
Ceremony & Ritual (North Atlantic Books, 2012), Botschaften aus dem
indigenene Feld, (Carl-Auer, 2009), Wandelen door het wetende veld,
(Alta Mira, 2009), Feather Medicine, Walking in Shoshone Dreamtime: A
Family System Constellation, (Llumina Press, 2004), and Coyote Dance,
(Llumina Press, 2005). Francesca serves on the Advisory Board for The
Knowing Field, the international English language journal on Systems
Constellation. As a writer and facilitator Francesca has been instrumental in
the development of Constellation as Ceremony and Nature Constellations.

Francesca@allmyrelationsconstellations.com
www.allmyrelationsconstellations.com

Without too much narrative, it negligent not to share one particular programmes in partnership with
seemed important to share one of constellation with a wider audience. universities in several countries. Much
the most remarkable constellations of his life experience and training are
I have experienced to date. I did not record the constellation on business based, although he has an
a tape recorder or make notes during academic background as a mechanical
On September 1-8, 2013 I was or after the constellation, and wishing engineer, and has done much to
fortunate to be among 400+ people to be cautious not to mis-represent consolidate access to facilitators world-
who had come from many parts the experience or format, I solicited wide through his Talent Manager
of Mexico, and all Latin American Cecilio Regojos input to review my website which provides on-line access
countries to participate in Explicando report of the constellation and to to facilitator contact information
Lo Inexplicable. This Intensive Training further contribute any observation or throughout the world. Given time,
which included about 150 participants instruction he may have in its regard. and a different focus, I am certain
and the much larger Conference His edits are unmarked in this text, there would be scores of Cecilios
were held in Acapulco, Mexico. The but he was kind enough to remind programmes and developments I could
Conference was an expression of the me of one of the components of this review, but my focus in this moment
tremendous presence of constellation powerful experience, so fortunately is to share a provocative experience.
work in the Spanish speaking world; this description is relatively complete.
there were more observations and At the Conference in Acapulco, one of
encouragement than I would have Cecilio is a facilitator and an the collective opportunities involved
time or room to express, but it felt international trainer of organisational a brief lecture by Cecilio, and a
constellations, and has developed demonstration. In the presentation
trainings and postgraduate
39
and a later discussion, Cecilio shared
how much he trusted the ability
the audience to mentally assign each
of the representatives to stand in the
After the
of the individual to heal, learn and place of one of the components of their constellation had
observe what was helpful, and he issue, or one of the individuals who
suggested that as facilitators we would be placed in their constellation.
reached a place
need to exercise caution to avoid
Regojo then invited the participants,
of stasis, Cecilio
interfering with a clients effective
process by inserting our own, not the representatives, to follow the asked the four
movement. Each of the representatives
necessarily helpful interpretations.
followed the movement of the soul, or representatives
The constellation was introduced the innate movement and a complex to describe what
without any stated agenda. There evolution of interpersonal dynamics
was no hypnotic messaging that between the representatives ensued. they had felt and
assured that the exercise would be
personally transformative; it was
Some representatives moved closer,
some further away, their gestures
experienced during
simply introduced as an experiment. were warm and aloof, and what the movements.
appeared to be the evolution of
Four representatives were solicited a deep constellation ensued.
from among the conference
participants and four people I had taken advantage of the
volunteered. Each of the volunteers opportunity and was following my who had just had the opportunity
demonstrated their representation on a constellation. The representatives to observe their constellation.
pre-prepared card which was visible to did a complex dance, first exhibiting
At that point, Cecilio stepped centre
all in the auditorium. One representative the tension which resulted from my
stage and asked of the audience: Who
was A, another stood for B, the third perceived lack of understanding
did not experience a constellation,
held the identification of the letter C, of the issue, the expectation, the
or who did not experience a sense
and the fourth representative was D. surrender, and at the end of the
of resolution in your constellation?
constellation, the resolution. I
Perhaps six people in an audience
experienced a sense of relief and layers
of several hundred indicated that
Giving time for of insight that I knew would inform
my going forward without rigidity.
the constellation which was done

each person to My first impression was just of


did not speak to them personally.
Thus, approximately 400 persons,
come up with their gratitude; the feeling that many clients in watching the constellation,
experience when they have had the independent of interpretation, felt
issue, he then opportunity to have a constellation a sense of resolve and insight as
invited each person speak to their soul and resolve their a result of this experiment.
inability to find clarity in approaching
to appoint each of a situation independently.
Upon returning to the USA, I have had
the opportunity to introduce the same
the representatives After the constellation had reached constellation twice in a small group.
as a part of their a place of stasis, Cecilio asked the In one case each person present had
the experience that the constellation
four representatives to describe
constellation. what they had felt and experienced was theirs. In the second experiment,
during the movements, and each was one of the individuals indicated that
given an opportunity to share with there was some relationship, but
The facilitator then invited each of the
the group what their process had it was a bit cryptic. I encouraged
persons in the Conference to think of
been during the constellation. Cecilio that we could say that was a no.
a personal issue something they
encouraged the representatives to This experiment is still something
would like to look at, something which
speak simply about their experience, to consider, even if not 100% of the
they would do a constellation about if
avoiding interpretation. Cecilio participants are impacted fully. I dont
the knowing field

they had an opportunity. Giving time


then invited several of the 400 think I have yet experienced any
for each person to come up with their
participants to address questions intervention in human development and
issue, he then invited each person
to the representatives to get more healing where the results are 100%.
to appoint each of the representatives
as a part of their constellation. So, information; it seemed that the answers
My impression was that the
they were to internally decide, who and descriptions of the representatives
development of this experiment has
would be represented by A, B, C, and further supported the constellation
been very responsible. The people
D. He gave time for each person in of the conference participants
in attendance were predominantly
40
the knowing field
facilitators of family constellation.
So, to have an individual set up
.that many tribal Our cultural metaphors, fairy tales and
paradigms often challenge translation
a constellation and trust that they traditional wisdom and the spoken word. It may be
could deconstruct the issue to be different in a culturally homogeneous
represented by separate individuals
traditions revere group, but in countries constructed
was not a problem. Virtually the ability of the of immigrants from every part of the
everyone present knew how to globe it is very easy for interpretations
set up a constellation. Cecilio had individual to heal, to to be misunderstood, or irrelevant.
been developing this observation
and experiment over several years,
find their own way, Cecilio, a constructive pragmatist,
primarily with training groups. and to have their works effectively in other realms,
so our underlying world-views are
There was no suggestion by Regojo own journey, made not identical. Nonetheless, that
that this become a substitute for
standard constellation work. But, for
this experiment a many tribal wisdom traditions
revere the ability of the individual to
me, it was a wonderful re-inforcement profound gift for me. heal, to find their own way, and to
for cautioning against interfering with have their own journey, made this
a clients own resources and insight. therapists. It was clear that was not experiment a profound gift for me.
This experiment was provocative. any stated or inferred intention of
Although almost to a person, people the facilitator, but it was (as many There were so many things that I
did experience the constellation as new experiences are) a bit unsettling appreciated in Acapulco. I am richer
their own, it left many with questions for some and exciting for others. for the experience and grateful for
and a deep sense of humility. having had the opportunity to be
My work, culturally influenced by with such a strong aspect of the
Some did not fare so well; one very indigenous perspective, is keenly constellation community. But, to
experienced facilitator and therapist aware of and integrates ancestors, identify the one event that would
shared with me a deep concern nature and ceremony. Working with likely impact anyone facilitating
that some might interpret that the so many multi-cultural groups I have constellation, in whatever application,
exercise diminished the necessity often been reminded that we do not I would think this experiment will be a
for, or the expertise of, accomplished all speak the same language literally. consideration for some time to come.

41
Personal Reflections
Contemplating Conscience

Max Dauskardt

Max Dauskardt, Life Energy Consultant, was born in 1949 near Bremen;
his parents were refugees from what is now Lithuania. After studying law at
universities in Hamburg and Berlin, he migrated to Australia. He worked in IT,
transport, building, agriculture and wood-fired heating, pioneered on deforested
land in subtropical Queensland, co-establishing an eco-friendly seminar centre.
There he organised the first Australasian Constellation Training Intensive,
with Albrecht Mahr. Since 2001 he has been involved professionally with
constellation work and conducted workshops in Australia, USA, NZ, Germany
and Croatia. Max, father of one son and grandfather to his three daughters,
has remarried and returned with his wife to Europe, living in Zagreb, Croatia.

max.dauskardt@yahoo.com
www.SystemicConnections.com

From the outset the distinction


between layers or types of conscience
In order to get an In part three: The Opening, I
outline the growth potential
has made me feel somewhat ill inkling of the enormity of the personal conscience
at ease, as if I were sensing an towards a spiritual dimension.
inherent clash with logic.
of Bert Hellingers
Only recently did the space open up for
insight which enabled
me to have a fresh look at this subject. him to formulate The Gem

In the first part of this article entitled: what conscience In order to get an inkling of the
The Gem, I appreciate the revolutionary enormity of Bert Hellingers insight
insight concerning conscience of
is in essence, it is which enabled him to formulate
Bert Hellinger, which has not yet even helpful to look at the what conscience is in essence, it is
helpful to look at the accumulated
begun to sink into the worldwide
accumulated views of
the knowing field

collective consciousness. views of philosophy, science, art


and theology on the subject.
In part two: The Entanglement, I philosophy, science,
The internet is loaded with references,
discuss what in the constellation art and theology yet I was unable to find Hellinger
world I believe to be understood
as the collective conscience, on the subject. mentioned amongst 300 entries
suggesting this to be a misnomer. dealing with conscience.1

42
the knowing field
The view on conscience generally our mother by smiling at her, thus Columbia Encyclopedia ends its
held is perhaps best formulated in inducing in her the flow of love that definition of conscience by describing
the Columbia Encyclopedia as: keeps us alive. We continue to do the phenomenon that there is no
everything necessary to ensure our universal conscience. Almost baffled,
a sense of moral awareness or of belonging and are guided in this by yet calling it a practical matter it is
right and wrong. The concept has our endowment with an inner sense virtually asking: how come this is so?
been variously explained by moralists organ that tells us when our belonging without putting a question mark:
and philosophers. In the history of is at risk or is safe, comparable to
ethics, the conscience has been our sense of balance.3 (p.57) As a practical matter, the
looked upon as the will of a divine consciences of different people
power expressing itself in mans Although this organ the capacity within a society or from different
judgements, an innate sense of right for conscience 4 is commonly felt by societies may vary widely. 2
and wrong resulting from mans unity us like an inner voice letting us know
with the universe, an inherited intuitive what is good or what is bad, it is not Hellinger takes this phenomenon a step
sense evolved in the long history of to be understood as equivalent to further by describing the most extreme
the human race, and a set of values an inbuilt radio-like device enabling dynamics of different consciences
derived from the experience of the us to receive messages sent by a coming into contact with each other:
individual. Psychologists also differ transmitter residing outside of us.
People going to war with a good
in their analyses of the nature of
conscience against people who
conscience. It is variously believed to
have a different yet equally good
be an expression of values differing
from other expressions of value only in
Sifting through the conscience killing one another
with a good conscience.
the subject matter involved, a feeling numerous references
of guilt for known or unknown actions This Gem (thank you Barbara Morgan
done or not done, the manifestation to conscience it for the apt label) of an insight is
of a special set of values introjected
from the example and instruction of
emerges that one simple and clear: Conscience is
intrinsically connected to our need
parents and teachers, and the value single word is for belonging, guiding us always in
structure that essentially defines the
personality of the individual. 2
missing, the one relation to our individual need; never
coming as an absolute voice of

Sifting through the numerous


that Bert Hellinger authority from outside ourselves.

references to conscience it emerges discovered in this


that one single word is missing, the
one that Bert Hellinger discovered in context. The word The Entanglement
this context. The word is: Belonging. is: Belonging. This heading was chosen for two
With all thats written about the reasons. The concept of the collective
subject, conscience has the quality of conscience deals first and foremost
Over the course of many centuries with the phenomenon of entanglement
a Fata Morgana, a Mirage, appearing
this phenomenon was recognised as between an excluded member of the
to be real, yet impossible to grasp
and declared to be the absolute voice system with a later born one, as we
firmly. That simple word belonging
of God. By and large, humanity went understand it within the context of
is what makes the difference.
along with this notion and still does. constellations; at the same time I am
Belonging, or rather the need for sensing an entanglement of sorts when
It took someone like Hellinger, who
belonging is of paramount importance personal and collective consciences
was prepared to look at it from a
for us as human beings. If we look are treated as quasi equivalents.
purely phenomenological point of
through the phylo- and onto- genetic
view to realise that there are no In my understanding we are dealing
lens, considering how we humans
absolute goods or bads that our here with two separate insights of
have developed as a species and
inner voice is making us aware of. Hellingers: one is about the nature
are developing as individuals, we
That inner voice tells us only what is of conscience and the other about
find that need deeply ingrained in
good or bad, helpful or unhelpful for the workings of the human system,
our hereditary make up. Without
our belonging. It is not an absolute the collective, in its effort to remain
belonging we cannot survive.
voice, only relative relative to those intact and complete. The attempt to
How do we ensure our immediate whom we depend upon for our, first unite both insights as one overriding
survival after having been born? physical later psychological, survival. phenomenon called conscience is
We demonstrate our belonging to

43
misleading and confusing; at least At the same time, we eliminate A man (the biblical Abraham) hears
thats how I have perceived it. the possibility for confusion in our the inner voice commanding him
understanding of what conscience to sacrifice his son and follows
Personal conscience means: the really is and what functions it this instruction almost through to
conscience of the individual person, fulfils. Thus we are keeping those completion before being stopped.7
whereas collective conscience does two profound insights apart. The alternative one in this tale hears
not mean: the conscience of the the same command yet he stops
collective, a fundamental difference. Separating the two perceptions: firstly, to consider it and then refuses to
Whilst we rightfully regard the collective what conscience is, its functions carry out the instruction.8 (p.43). All
or system of which we are a part as and consequences and secondly, conscientious objectors make this
an entity, we go astray if we treat it the effects of a systemic drive for choice, prepared to suffer the price
as an entity of human kind. Ascribing completion leading to entanglement, they have to pay for doing so.
anthropomorphous 5 qualities to may make it easier for the general
the entity/system, makes this entity public to come to an understanding of Systemic pressure exerted on us,
out to be human-like. Here I find the fundamental difference between however, leaves us with no choice.
the root cause of my confusion: the traditional view of conscience We have no say whatsoever in the
and the one that links conscience nature of our entanglements: which
On the one hand Hellinger says: with our need for belonging. For me, excluded person from our system
this is an understanding which is so we become entangled with or to
It is not accurate to see this
desperately needed in our conflict- what extent. We continue to suffer
collective conscience as a person,
ridden, troubled world, through which the consequences of entanglement,
to personify it and attribute it with
we can more clearly see the way without awareness, unless of course
having personal aims and pursuing
out, or better still, the way ahead. it is brought to light, perhaps in
them in a calculated manner.6 (p.3)
the course of a constellation.
It may add further clarification
On the other he implies that the
to consider how the individual For a moment lets try and
collective is indeed endowed with
experiences the calling of conscience: simplify matters and imagine our
a human-like conscience of its
conscience to be represented
own in the following description: Only our personal conscience is by a fruit hanging on a tree.
consciously experienced; we feel good
The collective conscience is a group
or bad as far as our belonging in its Each fruit is an integral part of the
conscience. While the personal
various facets is concerned or good or tree, belongs to the tree and is totally
conscience is felt by the individual
bad concerning the balance of give and dependent on the tree, yet throughout
and is in the service of the individuals
take. We have, however, no conscious its allotted time, the fruit is totally
belonging and the individuals survival,
awareness of the intra-systemic dependent on the drive of the tree to
the collective conscience attends to
insistence on completeness resulting in remain intact and complete as a tree.
the family as a whole and to the group
entanglements, regardless of how good The tree has no regard for the individual
as a whole. It is in the service of the
or bad we feel, because of the hold fruit, shedding it before full ripeness, if
survival of the group as a whole.6 (p.2)
those entanglements have over us. necessary for its ongoing survival; no
The path towards solution of this conscience is felt or operating here.
Our personal conscience gives us
discrepancy is found in his statement:
a felt sense; systemic pressure (the
This collective conscience operates collective drive) does not. We can
as a drive, a collective drive that only be aware of the effects that The Opening
wants only one thing: to save and this systemic drive passes on to us,
Summing up the above leads me
restore completeness. 6 (p.3) unable to link cause and effect.
to the conclusion that the capacity
Also to be considered is the question of for conscience, i.e. the ability to
In this latter statement, he firstly
choice which enables us to distinguish monitor our state of belonging, is an
recognises that the collective is
personal conscience from the effects of exclusive feature of human beings
endowed with a drive (towards
systemic pressure (the collective drive) and like everything human, it is
completeness) rather than with a
the knowing field

on us as individuals. Though at times subject to change and development,


conscience. Secondly he has stopped
only in a small way, we always have not entirely unlike our capacity for
using the term collective conscience
choice when our personal conscience singing. Many of us are content with
and replaced it with a different term.
speaks to us, yet sometimes this allowing that capacity to develop
In naming this force that operates choice can make the difference only under the shower; others
within us the collective drive, we give between life and death, as illustrated by proceed all the way towards singing
it all due credit and acknowledgement. the following story often told by Bert: in a concert hall or opera house.

44
the knowing field
We are born into a specific systemic However, there is another possibility The fruit on a tree may be shed early
environment and for sheer survival with this inner conflict which takes us in its development or may just reach a
reasons initially we subscribe to 100% forward: instead of choosing one side, stunted level of growth, but it reaches a
of the dos and donts of our system; we have the potential to choose to step state of full ripeness when all conditions
yet this subscription does not remain beyond it by looking at both sides from work well. Our personal conscience has
static. As we grow up, our personal an outer perspective. When prepared an equivalent potential. We are capable
conscience expands as well, in tandem to risk losing our belonging we can of reaching the fulfilment of spiritual
with our relating to more and more take that step and reap the benefits awareness or consciousness, however
members of our system and beyond. of personal growth and an expanded far removed from that state of ripeness
kind of belonging. One example would we may presently find ourselves.
With the expansion of our personal be the movement of ones conscience
conscience we inevitably experience from a National towards a Continental In the spiritual realm conscience
inner conflict: for example when and perhaps even a Global one. and consciousness merge.
we feel a different conscience in
relation to our mother from what we In his description of spiritual
experience in relation to our father conscience Hellinger alludes to
Dedicated to Bert Hellinger with
who left the family or perhaps later in this inner growth, bringing with
gratitude for all the gifts received.
it an increasing ability to serve
life, love and peace.6 (p.13)

We are dealing Spiritual conscience does not mean Notes:

here with two conscience of the spirit, just as


collective conscience does not mean
1. http://www.answers.com/
topic/conscience
separate insights conscience of the collective. It is not,
in my understanding, a force that 2. Columbia Encyclopedia www.
of Hellingers: one guides us beyond the boundaries of
answers.com/topic/conscience

is about the nature the personal conscience.6 (p.13). If 3. Bert Hellinger, Peace Begins in The
Soul, Carl-Auer-Systeme 2003.
there are such boundaries it pushes
of conscience and them outwards from within. It is rather a 4. Wikipedia: Common secular or scientific
the other about metaphor for the growth potential of the
personal conscience, not of a different
views regard the capacity for conscience
as probably genetically determined, with
the workings of rank or quality, but more like the widest its subject probably learned or imprinted
(like language) as part of a culture.
possible expansion of our conscience.
the human system, 5. http://www.answers.com/topic/
the collective, in Personal and spiritual conscience
rest on a continuum. Moving from a
anthropomorphous Ascribing human
motivation, characteristics, or behavior
its effort to remain personal to a spiritual conscience is to things not human, such as inanimate
objects, animals, or natural phenomena.
like moving from the narrow to the
intact and complete. wide; not a linear movement but a 6. http://www.cf-evajacinto.pt/
multi-dimensional, concentric one, wp-content/uploads/2013/02/On-
behaving like sound-waves emanating conciences-Bert-Hellinger-2007.pdf
from its source outwards. This 7. The Holy Bible, Genesis 22,
life when our conscience with regard
movement provides an opening for Knox Version p.17 - recommended
to our own origin is very different to reading in this context, MD.
us towards the universe considered
the one relating to our life partners
to be the seat of the Spirit. 8. Hellinger, The Churches + Their
lineage. Constellation work deals
God, Hellinger Publications 2013.
quite frequently with the suffering Our ordinary, personal conscience
arising out of such conflicts. is the guiding capacity with which
we are endowed for the purpose of
Conflicts of conscience can be
relating to our environment in optimal
dramatically non-resolvable. The
harmony by progressively making
story of Romeo and Juliet serves as
decisions to serve our changing needs
a universal reminder of the most fatal
for belonging. At the same time, our
consequences of such inner turmoil.
conscience is rather like a barometer
More often than not when in conflict we
indicating the stage of development
make a choice and commit ourselves
of our inner spiritual/ethical being.
to one side, usually the one which is
most familiar or comfortable for us.

45
Personal Reflections
Reflections on the US Systemic Constellations
Conference: A Microcosm of the American Field

Lisa Iversen and Kate Regan

Lisa Iversen, MSW, LICSW,has been a psychotherapist since 1993 and Systemic
Family Constellations practitioner since 1999. She is author of the book: Ancestral
Blueprints: Revealing Invisible Truths in Americas Soul. Lisa is founder of the
programme, Family Matters, a year-long immersion learning program for those
called to deepen connection with their ancestors and integrate wisdom from
Systemic Family Constellations more deeply into their personal or professional
lives. Since 2008 she has co-hosted the radio show: Life Conversations presents
Ancestral Blueprints with Ade Anifowose, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her way
of working could best be described as an integration of psychotherapeutic,
western based knowledge with indigenous, shamanically-oriented ceremony
and prayer received from her ancestors. There is a strong teaching component
to all her work. Lisa enjoys working with people from diverse lineages and faith
traditions. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter.

lisaiversen@yahoo.com
www.familyconstellationswest.com/www.lisaiversen.com

Kate Regan, PhD is an organisational consultant and executive coach.


She has served as the Director of Organisational Development for Catholic
Healthcare West, the Associate Director of Human Resources for Lucasfilm,
and the Assistant Dean for the School of Management at JFK University
in California. She holds degrees in organisational psychology, religion, art
and education. She currently works as a research specialist for the School
of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley exploring non-
profit leadership. She has recently completed her second 21-day Family
Constellation Facilitator Training with Francesca Mason-Boring.

kate@kairosconsultinggroup.com
the knowing field

www.kairosconsultinggroup.com

46
the knowing field
Kate: Lisa, I want to talk to you an effect on all of our children. Our greatest gift we can give our children
about your experience of the recent children represent the way forward. If is to tend to these histories behind us
US Constellation Conference held we cannot find ways to acknowledge, so that we break the pattern of passing
in Seattle. I had some wonderful own and speak about these hidden this task on to the next generation.
experiences as well as questions truths, our children pay the price.
and concerns. I was wondering Kate: What you are describing points
about your experience. Kate: Yes, while I wasnt there for the to how the fractured and fragmented
whole conference, I wondered how family structure that is so central to
Lisa: I am grateful for all that the were we planning to hear the voices the American psyche has, I believe,
organisers did to bring so many of us of the ancestors of the people from resulted in our becoming a nation
together in this complex, emerging America, both the Native American of organisations. In organisations,
field. Their many hours of work were and the immigrant ancestors? boundaries and structures are there by
evident from the well organised choice. Theyre not there by blood. We
schedule filled with diverse presenters When Belvie Rooks spoke, I wondered can much more freely exclude people
during our three plus days together. if perhaps it was still too painful to from organisations. In this country,
The conference made it possible for hear from the ancestors of the people life centres more around our work
each of us as individuals to experience who populated this country: the Native and organisational identities than it
the complexity and diversity of our Americans whose land was taken; does around our family connections.
countrys historical field in which the those who were enslaved and forced
constellation work in the US is situated. Lisa: In the US we create organisations,
groups to belong to, out of disconnec-
The questions that remained with Our children tion within our own family membership
me after the conference were: How
can American facilitators open their
represent the way group. We know in our souls how
groups provide belonging, so we have
hearts to the indigenous strength of forward. If we created an enormous map of surrogate
their own ancestries, whether they groups to belong to. Yet there can be
be European, African, Asian, Arab,
cannot find ways no replacement for knowing where we
Jewish, Hispanic or Native American? to acknowledge, belong in our own ancestral blueprints.
How can reconnection with indigenous
European ancestry help white American own and speak Kate: The structures and traditional
practices of these organisations
facilitators access their diversity and
strengthen their ability to deal with
about these hidden and groups that we belong to are
the colonial history of this country? truths, our children the carriers of our intentions. They
Many Americans with white European are the places where our history
ancestry were able to pass into
pay the price. unconsciously slips in to mix with our
the mainstream majority after only a conscious intentions. For example: in
generation and the loss of tell-tale to leave Africa in chains; the Asians my experience as an organisational
accents. The amalgamation of richly and Europeans who were often forced psychologist, big conferences are
diverse cultures into whiteness by hunger and poverty to leave their very difficult to put on. Someone has
may make it difficult for some white homelands to find work here; all of to make a deal with the hotel to cover
American facilitators to deal with those who out of their own need and the costs of the conference rooms,
the difficult issues in the diverse trauma often took more than they lodging, meals, etc. At that point,
racial history of this country. Is there gave, and the ones who came to this money becomes an important concern.
willingness, ability and permission to land with the movement of going How are participants attracted so
allow these kinds of issues to be made toward without fleeing from? How that the organisers dont have to pay
more visible within the American field? were we going to hear from them, the hotel out of their own pockets?
It may not be realistic or possible for all from those parts of ourselves? Who will people pay a fee to be with
the things we are speaking about in this and listen to? When individuals are
conversation to be held by the whole Lisa: One of the greatest risking a lot of money in service to the
American field. Its more likely that they unacknowledged truths in the US is community, it may bring up their own
can be held in different little corners that the country was created out of family histories, their immigration here,
of the field where theres a sense disconnection from family through and their relationship to the history and
of mutual respect and trust, mutual immigration, attempted genocide business practices of this country, and
ability to be with complexity, especially of Native Americans, slavery and so enters the history of our families and
with those who have a good enough disconnection from family. They are their immigration here. The historical
connection with their own ancestors. I all woven into the map of Americas business practices of entrepreneurship
dont have all of the answers about it, soul. In this country we live in a culture that underpin capitalism in this
but what we are speaking about has of fragmented family structure. The
47
country inevitably make their way into Indigenous wisdom refers to wisdom ancestors. WWII is just a blink of an
a conference about constellations. that is grounded, rooted in a particular eye; its recent history. In the US we
region, belonging to place. For have a 400 to 500 year back-log of
Another example is the traditional example, it was a blessing for there unacknowledged perpetrator/victim
ways we set up chairs and sound to be recognition of some of the experience on this land, complicated
systems in large auditoriums. On local tribes on the opening day of the and enriched by our immigrant
the one hand this is a very practical conference. Yet this wisdom lives in all history. The formation of this country
way of helping everyone to see and people not just in those with Native and our American consciousness
hear. On the other hand this seating American, Maori, Mayan heritages, were founded on disconnection
arrangement has vestiges of colonial, the indigenous people featured at from family. That is quite a history.
western military, and educational the conference. What we dont see Its a very worthy history for all of us
structures within it. When you walk into is that there can be a tendency in to open our hearts to. The difficult
a room where the chairs are all lined western culture to either deny or deify inheritance of these trauma bonds on
up facing a stage with a podium you these kinds of heritages, particularly this soil, and the disconnection from
instantly know who is in charge and to among people with primarily European family are the source of the deepest
whom you should be listening. How ancestry. Both ways are their own wounds in this country, as well as
do we know when we are honouring kind of trance. Without intending resources for the greatest healing.
indigenous peoples wisdom in this to do so, when those of us with
arrangement versus embedding their Kate: Youre reminding me of one
offerings as performance within a of the break-out sessions. Belvie
western construct? The large events Rooks and Eimear ONeill shared
at the Seattle conference used this Now is the time for their conversation with one another
seating arrangement in the same womens voices to about their African and Irish ancestry
way every other conference I have in their session: Sisters of the Hearth:
ever been to uses this design. There be heard around Irish and African American, Honoring
is no reason the Seattle conference
should have done it differently, except
this history, out the Ancestral Call. Belvie thought
that slavery and oppression started
that now, in hindsight we have the of respect and in Africa and early in their friendship
opportunity to reflect on how the asked Eimear how her people
design of our gatherings makes visible gratitude for the could do what they did to Belvies
our unconscious histories. We have heavy price that ancestors. Eimear essentially replied:
an opportunity to consider meeting Well, we had been enslaved and
and conference designs that might men have paid. oppressed for a long time. We had
better support our intentions. many years to learn the methods of
oppression that we used on others.
Lisa: Right. And what youre
European ancestry deify this wisdom
speaking about is a universal What you are making me realise with
whilst remaining cut off from the
phenomenon. Its not personal to the your chicken and egg comment is
European indigenous strength of our
Seattle constellation conference. that it is the trauma of the loss of
own ancestries, this can be another
family that often goes into creating
Kate: Absolutely. It would be easy to kind of taking in resonance with
a perpetrator who is willing to take
just hold the leaders and designers of the original colonial movement.
other people from their families, as in
this or any conference responsible for the form of slavery. The frozen grief
I had a conversation recently about
these blind spots, but we participate around the loss of family that occurred
Bert Hellinger and his early years
in all these structures and business with so many immigrants makes us
in this field. I feel grateful to have
practices through our payment in turn willing to kill others, take land
worked with him and many other
in fees and our participation. and split families apart. When the
European constellation facilitators
on multiple occasions. Hellinger loss of family goes unrecognised,
Lisa: Youre raising points about
was riveted by the perpetrator/ we can fail to recognise how hard
the relationship between trauma,
victim bond, the need for post WWII the heart becomes. We think only to
business, family, and gender, and
the knowing field

reconciliation. And so the constellations survive ourselves, and pretty soon


how once you set up the organisation
in Germany were, over and over the survivor becomes the oppressor.
and the structure theres a chicken
and egg dynamic. The structure gets again, about setting up constellations
The loss of family, and the resulting
created out of trauma but then the of this victim/perpetrator bond.
survivor mentality that emerges can
structure itself perpetuates it, too. create a perpetrator. It is hard to
In the US field, we dont want
to see the perpetrator energy in acknowledge our perpetrator side,
our American history, in all of our however, because being victims of loss,
48
the knowing field
we continue to experience ourselves part been men. Men from all lineages movement. Collective movements
as victims, and so we preserve our have paid such a heavy price in war. require groups to be with one another
innocence. In addition, whether we are Now is the time for womens voices to look together at what needs to be
fighting the revolutionary war or a war to be heard around this history, out of seen. They require those of us with
in another country, we tell the story respect and gratitude for the heavy white skin, claiming the indigenous
of ourselves as liberators, freedom price that men have paid. More men wisdom in our European roots, not
fighters, heroes. Through this image of have killed than women. There is a only to unfreeze grief as a source
ourselves as Americans we preserve a heavy burden, a heavy price for killing. of strength, but to face the difficult
false sense of innocence. This makes Our sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, truths around our colonial history.
it very difficult for us to own and take grandfathers, who have gone to war
responsibility for being the perpetrator. carry an often unspeakable heaviness Kate: Yes, I went to two sessions
It is very hard to hold victim and in their souls from that experience, at the conference that allowed me
perpetrator together within ourselves. and at the same time all men, women to experience different aspects of
and children in all families experience our colonial history. In the session I
Lisa: Yes, the false innocence. the trauma and grief of war. went to regarding Irish and African
Its one of Hellingers tremendous ancestry, I was able to get in touch with
gifts to us in his articulation about Kate: We as women have to figure out perpetrator energy and what that feels
group conscience and the guilt and a way to claim our voices, because like. My experience was a feeling of
innocence in membership groups. the dilemma of how to support and being very cold, isolated, and having
great difficulty connecting or wanting
Claiming the perpetrator energy in to connect. People wanted to comfort
our American lineages somehow Is there a me but it didnt help. At that point
goes against the rules of our there were only two men in that entire
American citizenship membership conscience group circle. There was a comment noting
group. We maintain our innocence
by excluding the perpetrator.
of constellation that all the men except two had left
the session, and another comment
Feeling innocent and belonging in
facilitators, and how about the role that men usually take in
our American membership group does it vary from relationship to women. I was reminded
of something a friend and teacher had
has historically also meant staying
in disconnection with immigrant
country to country? said: Many men have killed so women
could eat in innocence. I felt as if I was
homelands. When someone migrates
standing as a representative for the
to the US they are required to take
be supported by men who have gone killing and taking roles that men have
the following Oath of Allegiance in
through this puts us in the position typically had in wars and genocides.
order to become an American citizen:
of either silencing ourselves (thinking
I absolutely and entirely renounce and Representing the perpetrator brought
silence is support), lambasting them
abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any to mind my own history growing up
to get them to understand and see, or
foreign prince, potentate, state, or in Alaska in the 1950s. My parents
blaming them and making them wrong
sovereignty, of whom or which I have were there as kind of a second wave
while we remain innocent. None of
heretofore been a subject or citizen.2 of colonisers. They were there around
these methods work. So I dont quite
know what the solution is, but women the time all the institutions fell into
We know deeply from the constellation
need to find their voices in a way that place school systems, the churches,
field, but more so from the lives of
is clear, truthful and supportive. the health systems always to serve
recent immigrants, that while you
progress of course, but with little
can move from one country to the
Lisa: I am really reminded of the thought about the fact that the shift
next in body and on paper, often a
connection between the individual in language meant that grandparents
part of the soul remains in the home
and the collective in our conversation. and grandchildren could no longer
country. These are invisible truths
Its one of the key things we need to communicate with one another, or
that can block Americans ability
remember. Constellations enable us to that with grocery stores and a cash
to access the indigenous wisdom
feel and experience ourselves and our economy, the role of the hunter was
within their own ancestries.
family history not just as individuals, shifting, etc. I was a child in a wave
The role for me in terms of gender, but also as part of a collective. In of colonisers, both innocent and
women, and the place for womens part, that is where we can access the guilty. While I wasnt there by choice,
voices around what were talking about strength needed to see the difficult I absorbed the coloniser energy of the
is essential. While we are seeing some truths and release what is waiting place. It feels awful, but its very hard to
shift in the gender of our leaders, up to be released in terms of trauma. understand and figure out how to work
to this point they have, for the most Colonialism cannot be looked at with the coloniser/perpetrator role.
fully as an individual. Its a collective
49
The only thing that allows me to do so struck by the fact that the possibility Lisa: Likewise, I trust that those who
is to simply stand and be responsible. for music that was in that instrument have permission and a good enough
That is the way of it. The past cannot enabled the remembering, the looking support from their own ancestors will
be changed. Guilt doesnt help a back and the responsibility, and the be just the right ones to join us. I am
lot, nor remorse, nor asking the busy-ness on the street was inviting hopeful about providing an embodied
other person to be responsible for because of its ability to distract me setting in which to disentangle the
forgiveness. That is probably where from the history. The experience was relationship between belonging,
the deep sense of isolation came from both healing and helpful for me to ancestry, race, and power. Its a gift
in that session. When others in that understand what was required to stand to make a home for these images
conference session came to comfort in responsibility and to hold both the from the soul. I have a feeling that
me, it wasnt helpful. It made me feel looking back and the going forward. this conversation, in some form,
as if I was in it alone: the only one is deep inside all of us. Everything
guilty and responsible. The ending of Lisa: With gratitude for the conference that happened at the conference is
that event felt a little ragged to me. that just took place, I also look forward a part of me; everything that didnt
We had tapped into something very to creating future ones that focus happen, thats a part of me, too.
deep. Holding both parts of ourselves on the kind of responsibility youre Its all in contact with spoken and
and our ancestry, the victim and referring to and ways of being with unspoken, blind and awake love,
the perpetrator, is not easy work. the complex histories of this land. I and histories that weve all inherited.
invite others to join me in working with In the end, thank you again that our
When I left, I went to another session: their own family legacies, resonances, conversation reminds us: we all belong.
Tending the Soil: the Facilitators shadows, with their ancestral
Relationship with Reconciliation in homelands, tribes, faith traditions, in
Americas Soul, which was also a very context of the American landscape; to
large constellation with many people constructively work with inheritance Acknowledgement
in it. We were invited to stand either on of European disconnection and guilt;
This article was peer reviewed in
the side of the room that represented to experience ancestral strength as
advance of publication by Sono
the old country, the European countries a resource for reconciliation of post-
Hashisaki, Karin Konstantynowicz,
we had emigrated from, or on the slavery and post-colonial trauma;
and Una OConnell. We are deeply
other side of the room, representing and to open their hearts to ways in
grateful for their keen insights, truthful
the new land we had emigrated to. I which the American constellation
feedback, and encouragement.
found myself on the new side, standing field is influenced by US history.
in the place where I was able to look
both forward and backward. I could I often sense a deeply systemic
avoidance of US historys most difficult Notes:
hear the screaming and the wailing
and the desperation of lost loved ones truths. We need one another; we need
1. See full conference website for
and deaths as they went across the to be together in order to ask and details about all sessions referred to
sea and all of those other pieces that answer such questions as: How do we in this article at http://constellateus.
hold and acknowledge the takings com/conference2013sched/)
emerged in the constellation. I felt the
strain of the crossing and the loss of and the perpetrator in our US history 2. http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/
family and home in my legs and knees. and energy field? To whom do we naturalization-test/naturalization-oath-
I found that I could hear it, I could listen look for support? Where do we find allegiance-united-states-america

to it, I could see the history, and in the resources to acknowledge the
3. An Embodied Conversation with
seeing and taking in the history I was difficult truths in American history? the Internalized Colonizer. http://
able to look forward. It was really an How can we see the ways in which we familyconstellationswest.com/
exclude the perpetrator to protect our internalized-colonizer-series/
amazing experience. I found that, as I
was looking out of the window at all the innocence and our right to belong? And
people passing by, I was drawn to all of looking beyond the US at the wider
the busy-ness out there in the world. It field, is there a conscience group of
felt like a fabulous distraction from the constellation facilitators in each country
history, from the moaning, the anger, and culture, and how does it vary?
the knowing field

the tears, and all the loss that was


Kate: Yes, Im grateful that the
behind me. Directly in front of me, on a
conference prompted us to have
chair, was a musical instrument. I found
this conversation today, and I
that the music was what enabled me to
look forward to continuing it with
remember, to hold the truth about the
others from all lineages in the series
history, and to be responsible. I was
we are convening in 2014.3

50
Personal Reflections

the knowing field


Putting a Finger on the Problems of
Traditional Family Constellations

Indra Torsten Preiss

Indra Torsten Preiss followed a training course in family and systemic


constellations conducted by Bertold Ulsamer (2001), seminars of Bert
Hellinger, Albrecht Mahr and other well-known constellators. Before that
he worked for 20 years using Rebirthing, bodywork, NLP, Voice Dialogue
and Tantra. Through M. Barnett he was introduced to Zen and Taoism.
In 2004 he published Familieopstellingen in de Praktijk (Dutch) followed
in 2008 Gezonde Verhoudingen (Dutch) now published as Family
Constellations Revealed.He conducts trainings, weekend seminars and
individual counselling in family and systemic constellations at his Art of
Life Studio in Antwerp, Belgium, and on tour throughout Europe.

indra@atelierlevenskunst.be
http://www.the-systemic-view.com/

While watching Professor Dr. Franz as I can see, he is largely directing his I do not want to judge Rupperts
Rupperts presentation entitled: attention to the practice of constellators reason for taking up this position (and
Aufstellungen das Entstehen who do not comprehend the basics the arguments and examples he puts
einer Methode und ihr aktueller of traditional family constellations, forward). However, in my understanding
Entwicklungstand (Constellations have not had sufficient training or it is perfectly clear that they do not fall
the emergence of a method and its suffer themselves from unprocessed, within the realm of traditional family
current state of development1), I found symbiotic entanglements. This is constellations as I learned them from
myself in general agreement with some evident from the arguments and Bertold Ulsamer and as is found in
points of his critique and some not. examples he puts forward to distance much of the literature. What I think
However, I cannot agree to identify himself. Asking him (by e-mail) he is doing is putting his finger on
with his criticism of traditional Family why he focuses his criticisms on an unclear image of what traditional
Constellations. To be clear from the traditional family constellations he family constellations are about. If the
start, I am a convinced and enthusiastic replies: This has nothing to do with examples he presents are common
Traditional Family Constellations poor education, because such illusory practice for many colleagues and
facilitator to the point that I have concepts ( .. symbiotic illusions in therefore, to their understanding, part
recently put one of my books, relation to the parents and ancestors..) of traditional family constellations,
translated into English, on Amazon2: are indeed taught and passed on then we have real problems.
by the relevant trainers and other
I find it rather disappointing that people in authority as essentials for He begins his criticism by giving
Ruppert says: I distance myself from traditional family constellations. an example about a facilitator
traditional family constellations. As far who summed up his conclusion

51
at the end of a constellation by the client can integrate. Successful When discussing rituals such
saying something like: Everyone integration happens through non- as bowing, he says that they
can see thats the way it is.... interference from the facilitator, promote symbiotic illusions.
known as der Verzicht in German.
According to my understanding this Step by step Ill walk through
comment aims to generalise personal A person who wants to change Rupperts points of critique and
observations. If everyone sees this that which has shown up, present you my understanding of
anyway, and it is thus perceivable puts himself above reality. He traditional family constellations:
by everyone and in particular for the is trying to manipulate what
client, such a remark is superfluous. has shown up to suit his own
preconceptions. In so doing, he Orders of Love
Commenting on this, Ruppert says: is attempting to play God over
...there is no (phenomenological) reality and make it subordinate The question whether or not we
perception of a constellation to himself. Only people who are have to call it orders of love is a
process, without intention and able to subject themselves to legitimate one but it is clear from
one sees something based reality and take it exactly as it is, every traditional family constellation
on ones own perception. can work effectively with family that human relationship systems
constellations. A facilitator does follow certain laws and that there
I myself, have experienced two
not exert his own will. This is the is an underlying order or organising
constellations that ended in a
phenomenological attitude. 4 principle at work. The restoration of
similar way to this one and since
this order is not a purpose in itself;
then have had no need to further It is my opinion, that while working rather it is a movement that arises from
experience this form of constellation. with family constellations a clients the constellation itself. I dont see that
As I see it, the way the facilitator awareness and process have to take this promotes symbiotic illusions.
positioned himself towards his client place in his own consciousness. The
was untenable with the basics of client can then integrate the resultant
traditional family constellations and insights in his or her daily life, or
its phenomenological approach: not. All outside information, like the Reconciliation
constellators personal or spiritual
A facilitator has to go beyond a
insights, are subjective and cannot
with parents,
subconscious wanting to do good and
instead be open to perceptions that
replace or enhance this process. therefore, cannot
show up through the representatives
and from there, assist the client in
Continuing with his criticism that be the purpose of
traditional constellations promote
his growth process. This can only symbiotic illusions in relation a constellation as
happen, according to Hellinger, when
the facilitator empties himself of
to the parents and ancestors, such, unless it is part
Ruppert lists in his presentation
personal views, prior experiences the following points with no further of the clients theme
and inner notions of emotion, will and
judgement. The phenomenological
substantiation of his argument.1
or question and
stance of a facilitator is working from
the empty middle as Hellinger calls
Traditional family constellations
are oriented around the orders of
happens during the
it. By adopting this attitude, love, the search for family roots constellation as an
all that has to be revealed will be
revealed.3 (This and subsequent
and finding ones own place in
the family and in general.
authentic movement.
quotes are from a period when
Hellinger himself was still working with He continues to explain his view:
Traditional Family Constellations). Very essential for traditional family
constellations are: Reconciliation with
Searching for family roots
Another comparable situation is when Parents which, ultimately leads to the
a facilitator offers his own perceptions sparing of parents and offenders and That this is undeniably a secondary
the knowing field

of the constellation to the client after a the perpetrator is pardoned even in aspect in traditional family
constellation without being invited to case of abuse which, according to constellations, goes without saying,
do so. A traditional constellation serves Ruppert, leads to the illusion that: but it is not a goal or purpose in itself,
the clients needs, since his internalised unless it forms part of the clients
system is being represented. Whatever You can have a good relationship
theme. The phenomenological attitude
shows up is just what is needed to with your parents even when
takes distance from wanting and has
find solution and that is precisely what abuse is present.
therefore no goal or purpose in itself.

52
the knowing field
Finding ones own place (in The perpetrator is pardoned only when it is a natural movement
the family/in general) even in case of abuse. stemming from a relaxed mood. This
usually occurs once all entanglements
This is certainly an important aspect And he continues: concerning the clients theme or
of traditional family constellations
questions(s) have been dealt with and
but also is not end in itself. It can, You can have a good relationship
it feels truly appropriate for the client.
however, be a clients goal in terms of with your parents even when
Once these conditions are met, the
gaining insight and becoming aware. abuse is present.
client is willing and able to let go, relax
In my understanding of traditional and surrender to what has shown up
family constellations one is in the constellation. Thats when the
Reconciliation with Parents neither excused, pardoned nor clients neck muscles become loose
forgiven because everyone during a bow and therefore the whole
In his presentation Ruppert states: PM muscle chain is activated.9 Only
bears his own destiny with all its
Reconciliation with parents ultimately when the client can do this from his
associated responsibilities.
leads to the sparing of parents and own free will, can the bowing ritual
offenders. In my opinion, traditional Hellinger says: Excusing is be redemptive and liberating.
family constellations have no other presumptuous and What I forgive
purpose than to provide answers in others ends up in my own Commenting on this, Bert Hellinger
to a clients theme or question(s) in backpack. (Hellinger, 2001) says: This movement has become
alignment with his system as revealed difficult for a lot of people in our
by representatives. Reconciliation Writing about his work with culture; bowing as a sign of respect is
with parents, therefore, cannot be the incest victims Hellinger says: easily confused with bowing as a way
purpose of a constellation as such, of showing unhealthy subordination.
The child has every right (...) to
unless it is part of the clients theme When we bow before a person
be angry with the perpetrator. 7
or question and happens during and pay tribute to someone who is
the constellation as an authentic In line with my personal experience entitled to it, ones body and mind
movement. In this way, successful and approach to traditional family react by relaxing, accompanied by
reconciliation with the parents, resulting constellations, perpetrators clearly a feeling of lightness. It feels good
from a constellation, is a welcome become identified as perpetrators and has a positive effect. 10
bonus. Again, I dont see that this in constellations and if it shows
promotes symbiotic illusions. This makes it clear that a bow during
up as a necessary action, they
a traditional family constellation may
lose their rights as a parent. For
Whenever facilitators set up never be a ritual of submission or
existing guilt, the responsibility is
reconciliation with parents as a performed out of (moralising) coercion
left with the family member where
constellation goal in general, whether from the constellator or the group.
it originally belongs, even though
consciously or sub-consciously, If bowing happens under any kind
they are entangled themselves.
they themselves are most likely to of pressure, it is at best a pointless
be entangled with their own system intervention and at worst it borders
and take on more of the role of a indeed on psychic rape of the client.
social worker who is ruled by their Rituals in constellation
need to be the helper than that of Rupperts conclusion is:
a traditional family constellation According to Ruppert, rituals
strengthen and nourish symbiotic Symbiotic survival methods are
facilitator. Hellinger makes the
entanglements with survival structures, given a lot of confirmation through
following comment about this:
which support symbiotic illusions. traditional family constellations.
It is clear how demanding it is
Ruppert pays special attention He gives the following examples:
to adopt the position of non-
interference (der Verzicht) as to bowing in his speech as
You can save the system
non-interference also includes well as in his book Symbiosis
refraining from interfering with and Autonomy. He says: and
the best of intentions. 5 It borders on psychic rape You can save your family.
Sparing parents or offenders when bowing is demanded,
even when the client clearly In my understanding of the essence of
is to my understanding not a
shows resistance. 8 traditional family constellations there
fundamental part of traditional
is no need to rescue others. Every
constellation work at all. (See later). Bowing before ones parents or for form of wanting to save runs contrary
In his presentation Ruppert states that the early death of a forgotten family to the phenomenological attitude:
in traditional family constellations: member has real therapeutic value
53
[] the therapist has to be Ruppert; he states himself that his work Notes:
able to resist the temptation and Systemic or Family Constellation
1. Ruppert, Prof. Dr. Franz.(2012)
to want to help, or to want to Work have nothing in common. Aufstellungen das Entstehen einer Methode
find a solution that conforms und ihr aktueller Entwicklungstand. DVD,
to his own ideals and For these reasons it seems to me Mnchen, Germany. www.jahnsverlag.de
ideas. 11 (Hellinger 2001) an important step towards the
2. Torsten Preiss, Indra (2012) Family
methods maturity for us to come to
Constellations Revealed, The Systemic
According to Ruppert: a commonly agreed definition about View, Torsten Preiss, Indra (Self-published
what constitutes traditional family on Amazon), Antwerp, Belgium.
Spirituality belongs necessarily constellations and the associated
to traditional family constellations 3. Hellinger, B. (2001) in Torsten Preiss, Indra
phenomenological attitude and what (2012) Family Constellations Revealed, The
as a source for solutions. does not. Just because Hellinger has Systemic View, Torsten Preiss, Indra (Self-
moved away from traditional family published on Amazon), Antwerp, Belgium.
The constellation work and certainly the
constellations and (bravely) follows his
solutions that emerge during traditional 4. & 5. Hellinger, B.(2001) Ordnungen
own way, we dont necessarily have der Liebe. Ein Kursbuch, pp. 21-22. 7.
family constellations require no further
to relinquish what is useful. Having corrected edition Carl-Auer-Systeme
spiritual context. Constellations for
a commonly agreed definition wont Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.
me, are living and applied spirituality
prevent us from further development of
or Taoism in practice: no other form 6 & 7. Hellinger, B. (2001). Ordnungen
the method. Instead it will provide us der Liebe. Ein Kursbuch, p. 281, 7.
of spirituality can replace what
with a common basis and framework corrected edition Carl-Auer-Systeme
takes place in a constellation. Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.
for development of the work.
Let us look once more at what I see 8. Ruppert, F. (2010) Symbiose en Autonomie
In saying this I do not know if there
as the problems of traditional family p. 225. Akasha, Eeserveen, The Netherlands.
is any desire in the field to find a
constellations. Like any other system,
common ground or definition for 9. Godelieve Struyf-Denijs, a Dutch
family systems follow certain laws, ostepath has isolated 6 pairs of muscle
traditional family constellations.
one of which is that a system has to chains and developed a whole method
However, I hope to start with this around it. http://www.apgds.com/
delineate itself from other systems
article a discussion that will finally apgds-dans-le-monde/nederland.html
to be able to be observed. It has
lead to more clarity on the matter
to be able to be defined. This has Franciose Meternad has also developed
in order to give this (in my view
clearly not happened sufficiently, her own methodology. She says:
genius) methodology a clarity and
otherwise Rupperts criticisms
rightfully earned central place in In the west, the importance of the
could not have taken place in this organisation of muscles in chains was
the field of constellations work.
way, because he seems completely first seen by Francoise Mezieres, a French
In this sense I agree with Max physiotherapist, who came up with an
ignorant about what traditional
Dauskardts words below: extensive exercise schedule for the centrally
family constellations actually are.
located back muscle chains, called the
My hope is to find the systemic postero-mediane (PM) chain. She noted
Just as I have pointed out above,
constellation community engaging in that a stretch of the whole chain was more
Rupperts critique is more about efficient than a stretch of only one muscle and
an open deliberation towards clarity
the intervention and attitudes that the chain-stretch was not so effective
of what a constellation is and of what if one of the chain muscles shortened
of constellators that lie beyond
constitutes the constellation method for instead of lengthening. This happens when
the essence of traditional family
our own sake as well as in the interests the head is not allowed to droop and
constellations. It is not that I wish to therefore hang loosely while bowing.
of other mental health practitioners
judge in any way a colleague who
and the general public at large. 12 Full impact can only be achieved by
uses a different approach to traditional
surrendering and letting go of control,
family constellations; every child has Systems that are not in a position to be which cannot be forced. (http://
the right to his own name and there self-delineated die out sooner or later. fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mthode_Mzires)
should be many children. On the other
10. Hellinger, B., Weber G., Beaumont
hand, any facilitator using the name
H. (2001) De verborgen dynamiek
traditional family constellations to van familiebanden, p.273 Altamira-
describe their work while consciously Becht, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
the knowing field

or unconsciously doing something


11. Hellinger, B. (2001). Ordnungen
different, is misleading to me. It seems der Liebe. Ein Kursbuch, p. 281, 7.
that this may be happening a lot and corrected edition Carl-Auer-Systeme
the risk of this is that traditional family Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.
constellations will become diluted and
12 . Max Dauskardt, What is a
lose power or their (good) reputation Constellation? TKF 21
will be lost. That counts as well for

54
The History of Nations,

the knowing field


Cultures & Religions

A Sea of Uncried Tears:


The Transgenerational Trauma of Romania

Aurel Mocanu

Aurel Mocanu is a psychologist and family constellations facilitator and he


also has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. His journey has been rich in
experiencing different types of holistic healing, and in recent years he has been
coming to what feels like his calling in shamanic healing, family constellations, and
ancestral healing work. He has been instrumental in bringing healing to Romania,
translating and organising workshops and trainings in shamanic healing, family
constellations, and ancestral healing. He trained in Family Constellation work
with Barbara Morgan (www.cominghome.org.uk ) and Cornelia Nicola (www.
aufstellungsrituale.de). He has been offering family constellations workshops
since 2012 and he also offers individual sessions in person or by skype.

aurelmocanu@yahoo.com
www.nierika.ro/www.aurelmocanu.ro

Note: This article contains references or national, such as wars, natural difficulties, feelings and patterns that
to materials and studies by others, and, disasters, genocide or epidemics. we carry in ourselves, often without
at least partially, my own perspective even being aware of them or of their
on the subject. Wherever I quote an As a result of these unhealed wounds origin. And yet they affect us so much!
online source, Ive included the link of the soul, since our ancestors
to the corresponding web page. qualities come down through n Heavy sadness that we feel has
generations as a genuine emotional always been there, and yet we have
DNA, now it can be said that become used to it, just like the
almost the entire planet faces huge constant ticking of an old clock,
Background transgenerational trauma, different from which we no longer hear unless
one nation to another and from one we focus our attention on it.
A relatively recent field of
continent to another. No continent has
psychotherapy that is finally n Desperation and panic attacks
been spared of wars, genocide, slavery
beginning to enjoy the attention it unexplained by any events that
and systematic ethnic and religious
deserves is transgenerational trauma happened to us personally.
discrimination for prolonged periods of
healing. Transgenerational trauma
time.
is the trauma that occurred several n Sudden attacks of devastating
generations ago and has not been anger, totally disproportionate
Apart from the personal traumatic
healed within the generation where to any possible stimulus from
events that many of us go through in
it took place. It can be due to a the real life of the person
our own lifetime, the transgenerational
personal event or a historical event who experiences them.
dimension adds a whole range of other
affecting entire social groups, ethnic
55
n A longing for death, for openly expressed opinion or because agriculture, keeping a few animals and
danger, inclinations contrary of a joke that showed the regime in an working the land with horse pulled
to the education one had, unfavourable light? ploughs re-discover their self-
addictions to alcohol and other respect and trust each other enough
substances or gambling etc. In the first years of the communist to unite in associations, be effective
regime there was a national campaign in their work and not always lose
for agriculture to become collective, out? Many of the wounds from two
i.e. the land and what it produced generations ago are still not healed.
Romania
were no longer to be the property of
the individual but the property of the What kind of soul burden is carried by
Speaking about Romania, the recent
people. The official policy was that the descendants of the vast number of
history of our country is full of pain,
everyone had to give up their land and people who were killed or re-educated
murder, tragedy and betrayal. Mass
animals, tools and assets related to in communist prisons, forced labour
trauma has left its mark on a huge
farming and form collective agricultural camps etc?
number of countries and Romania is no
exception at all. units. As one could expect, not many
agreed to the idea. However the regime What kind of soul burden is carried by
descendants of torturers, informers,
How can a descendant of men tortured
prison guards?
to death by the Communists stand in
his full power and masculinity, if the
qualities of such a stance courage,
How can a Most of the situations I have
listed above are very common in
integrity, social influence and material descendant of the Romanian population. Here
wealth are the very reasons for
which his grandfathers were taken men tortured are a few facts and numbers
about the most traumatic events
away and tortured to death, leaving
their grandmothers to die in poverty,
to death by the in 20th century Romania:
humiliation and mockery, living their Communists stand
remaining years at the mercy of the
village?
in his full power and World War I
masculinity, if the Over 985,000 people died, of which
How can a woman connect to her
feminine qualities and manifest them, qualities of such a 335,000 soldiers died in combat or
went missing, and more than 650,000
relating in a healthy way to her husband
and children, when for four generations
stanceare the very people were killed by disease, famine,
and possibly more, the women in her reasons for which misery and executed by occupation
family had to take the place of men, troops. In addition to this, 75,491 were
because their men had died on the
his grandfathers injured or incapacitated by the fighting.2
front or were killed in prison or returned were taken away and Romanias estimated population in
home traumatised after the atrocities
they were part of? tortured to death? 1919 was 16, 250,000, and in 1930,
when there was the one and only
How can one trust the political class complete census of the interwar period
in a country where for more than forty the figure was 18,052,896 inhabitants.3
years the communist domination forced this on to the people. This
systematically destroyed the human was known as The Collectivisation of As we can see, the casualties of
dignity and values of its people and Agriculture1 in communist Romania. Romania in World War I account for a
tried to subdue their souls? After communism was over, the very high percentage of the population
land was given back to the families approx 1 in 15 people died in this
How can one trust anybody else, be who had originally owned it. war and then only a generation after,
it neighbour, co-worker, or man in the same thing happened again. Not
Under these conditions, and given only the young and apt for army service
the knowing field

the street? How can one develop a


the way in which the communist mostly men died, but equally there
community spirit in a country where
collectivisation of agriculture was were civilian victims.
a huge percentage of both men and
achieved (by force, blackmail, beatings,
women were informants for the dreadful
deportations, etc.) how can todays As a systemic effect on the remaining
communist secret police and virtually
small farmers and villagers who live surviving families of those compatriots
anyone could be denounced, taken,
mostly off what is called subsistence (i.e. our great-grandparents and
beaten and imprisoned because of an
grandparents families), it is important

56
the knowing field
not only that these people have died We need to mention also the massive R: How many informants were there?
and suffered themselves, but also that deportations from Romania, the
due to their participation in the war, Soviet Union and the former regions SO: No figures have been given
they killed people from the opposition. of Romania that were taken by the so far, but I estimate, without any
Soviets after the war, where families documents, there were more than
In those same decades there were also from entire villages were forced to leave 600-700,000 in December 1989. Its
notable tensions and clashes between their homes, move into the middle of true that most of them did not do
ethnic groups and nationalities. nowhere and start again from scratch, anything more than listen at doors. (... )
living in terrible conditions almost as
slaves to the communist regime. From the systemic perspective, it
has been observed that in such
World War II
All the elite from spiritual, intellectual, situations, some of the descendants
In my research about the loss of human political, religious, military and business of the victims unconsciously have
lives in Romania in World War II, I found backgrounds and from the villages were a tendency to identify with the
that: deliberately destroyed in unimaginable aggressors and vice-versa.
ways. Priests, lawyers, engineers,
For Romania, the same statistics show professors, teachers, writers, poets,
that from 22nd June 1941 to 12th May philosophers, businessmen, politicians, Abortions
1945, in the nearly four years of war, generals, officers and soldiers, simple
our country lost 450,000 soldiers and peasants, anyone that could be This is a major theme amongst
about as many civilians during the Romanians and emerges with alarming
fighting and bombing.4 regularity in constellations. It seems
It seems the norm the norm for the last two generations
A similar estimate states : 450,000-
5
for the last two of women is to have had anything
465,000 soldiers and about just from 6 to 30 abortions each.
as many civilians from Romania generations of
Special attention also needs to be given
died in the second world war. This
amounts to nearly a million people,
women is to have to the phenomenon triggered by the
which, given the population in had anything from 6 Decree 770 of October 1, 1966, which
attempted to ban abortions. Women
Romania at the time, is significantly
high another 1 in 15 people. And to 30 abortions each. were forbidden to abort and use any
after these two generations WWI form of contraception, and there was
and WWII communism came. compulsory gynaecological checking in
all factories and workplaces. This gave
considered a threat to communism
way to a whole underground industry
were imprisoned and for the most part
of abortion and to countless tragedies.
Communism were exterminated.6
The documentary Born to order.
The victims of Communism in Estimates from researchers of this The Decree deals in detail with
Romania are another sea of souls. difficult subject are very different, all the stages of demographic
Torture, deportation, forced labour, ranging from a few thousand people policy implemented in connection
nationalisation of assets, forced killed in detention, through to about with Decree 770. I quote from the
collectivisation (see note 1), house 350,000,7 (The Tismaneanu Report ) description of the documentary:
arrest, persecution, discrimination through an estimate of 1,131 million
on the basis of so-called unhealthy political prisoners (estimate made by Thus were born over two million
social origins all this was a real red Prof. George Boldur Latescu 8 ) up to Romanians. They are the people of the
genocide for the Romanian people, a figure of 2 million victims. 9 Ionitoiu Golden Age of Communism in Romania
leaving deep emotional scars. Cicerone the author of an impressive but they are simply called little decree
dictionary of the victims of communist children or decree. Most of them are
Another category of people harmed by terror (70,000 names), argues that now 30-40 years old. Nobody has said
the actions of the communist regime in Communist Romania there were anything to them about how they came
were families and business owners of three million political prisoners.10 into the world. It was not easy. In that
nationalised houses: the residential generation over ten thousand women
property of those who had a bigger or Historian Stejarel Olaru, head of died giving birth to these children (there
better household was confiscated and the Institute for the Investigation were a lot of illegal abortions and many
re-distributed without compensation of Communist Crimes, said in an women died due to these abortions);
to those who had owned the houses. interview: thousands of children were orphaned,
and many of these orphans now lie

57
in mass graves behind the Romanian mothers and fathers they love and in this country are now suffering the
orphanages. If you think the problem hate them at the same time. Many of consequences of these individual
was one man, Nicolae Ceausescu, the people coming to the constellations and collective traumas. There is a lot
youre sadly mistaken. You might have workshops have a deep love for their of healing needed in this culture.
a big surprise seeing the film.11 unborn (aborted) brothers and sisters
and often they feel guilty for merely Most bear the pain, inclinations, guilt,
The famous Decree 770 killed or being alive. Many people feel so close humiliation and powerlessness of
provoked physical and psychological to the trauma of the aborted children which they are not even aware. And
trauma as serious as death. Out that they feel theyre about to go crazy. quite a few perhaps vehemently deny
of despair, women in Romania did or show indifference to the subject.
whatever they could to get rid of an Others know that they will not have But denial is in the nature of this kind
unwanted pregnancy. They used children. Others cling to ways of of trauma and no wonder it exists.
salt, detergent, medicinal plants, avoiding connecting to their feelings: Even todays Romanian Army denies
hot baths; they introduced needles alcoholism, violence, substance abuse that our soldiers have PTSD.13
in themselves, or did anything that etc.
would eliminate the pregnancy. There Much of the transgenerational trauma
was a time when lemon juice was the A recent survey mentions a staggering manifests as physical disease,
most popular contraceptive method. number of more than 20 million mental illness or emotional difficulties
Since womens menstruation was abortions in Romania from 1958 such as: heart disease, diabetes,
monitored monthly by state authorities, until 2008. How much grief, guilt respiratory disease, paranoia,
detecting pregnancies as soon as and pain are connected to this? schizophrenia, depression, domestic
possible was a must. Usually, they violence, alcoholism, abuse.
were detected through old-fashion
methods such as using a frog.
Traumatic Effects on Personal Examples of the
During the 23 years this Decree was Subsequent Generations effects of these events
being applied, statistics show that over
2 million unwanted children were born Each of these mass tragedies listed
A neighbour of my grandfathers
in Romania, most of them ending up above had a profound effect on those
collaborated with the communists
in orphanages. At least 10,000 women living during that time. From the
for personal gain and denounced
died trying to trigger an underground constellation work, it seems that such
my grandfather. This led to a lot of
abortion. Moreover, children with massive trauma cannot be processed
suffering for my grandfather and his
disabilities were rejected by the state by the generation experiencing it,
family. Our family still remembers
and were sent to camps, such as the nor even the subsequent one. They
who sent Grandpa to jail those
ones in Cighid with the highest rate have been passed on to our current
people live two houses down the
of infant mortality in Europe. 12 generation with a hope of resolution,
street. Nicolae, aged 72 years.
reconciliation and healing. This
How many women were traumatised happens sometimes but not every time. When they were trying to force us to
by the mentally and physically give up our land to the collective farm,
abusive regular gynaecological These events took place during the
I was hiding in the basement for two
checks established by this decree? lives of our parents, our grandparents
years so that they wouldnt find me
How many died from abortions in and great-grandparents and even in the
and force me to sign. And then the
poor conditions? How many were lifetime of our current young people.
secret police scared my wife telling her
imprisoned? How many health They are not the imagined stories of
that the future of our kids was at risk
professionals were sent to jail as well any writer of horror films scripts. They
if I didnt show up and collaborate. I
due to abortion-related activities? How are what has happened to our roots,
gave in. Ioan, aged 75 years, farmer.
many women had children with birth to the people that gave life to us. And
defects and traumatised through failed there is great pain and alienation also Such stories as these two exist
abortions? How many of these were further back in our ancestry. This article widely in the Romanian population.
emotionally traumatised before birth only focuses briefly on some of the
greatest traumas of the 20th century, Personally speaking, my paternal
the knowing field

because of the parents mood during


but theres more as we go back in time. great-grandfather and great-uncle were
pregnancy? What effect do these
taken from their homes and families
situations have on our lives today?
Millions of Romanian men and women and they never returned. What the
Many of the children born in these and children over a four or five family heard was that both were shot
circumstances have a deep soul wound generations span have been affected while trying to escape the official
for feeling unwanted, or bear strong by the events enumerated above, reason given for killing someone
ambivalent feelings towards their so it is likely that millions of people without a trial. What was their crime?

58
the knowing field
They were into the wrong politics, and How many generations are needed humour and compassion. I have been
many people were respecting them. before we will be able to fully look working with numerous wonderful
Therefore they were dangerous for into these pains, these terrors? trainers, teachers and healers over the
the regime. Also, they were wealthy. How much time will still need to past eight years. When they come to
After his father and brother were killed, pass before the healing, the beauty visit Romania, they love the people and
my paternal grandfather was sent to and balance is found again? the nature here. In a few words, what
a distant province and forced to stay they have said that touches them is
there. His mother died in poverty in As visiting trainer, Barbara Morgan how soulful we Romanians are. How
another county and he was not allowed once said to us: You are living in a sea resilient, how alive we are after all
to visit that area. By then he had a wife of uncried tears. these tragedies. And gradually, we are
and a seven year old son my father beginning to look at our history and its
and almost no means to provide for Could it be that now is the time when long-term effects. And constellations
his family, since he was not allowed we can raise our awareness of it? Were are providing us with one very powerful
to work as per his qualifications and two generations or so after the war and effective way to do this.
studies. In one heavy winter, he traded and a generation after communism.
a Stradivarius violin for a carriage load Perhaps now we have the power to
of firewood. My father was a brilliant look into the places that we fear in
Notes:
pupil in school, excelling in all subjects, the depths of our souls, into those
and he was the first on the list at the 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Collectivisation_in_Romania.
University with the best marks at
the admission exams. However he As visiting trainer, 2. Source: ROMANIAS casualties
during the war, Prof. Univ. Dr. Nicolae
was initially refused enrolment as a
student due to what was referred to Barbara Morgan Ciobanu http://www.once.ro/sesiuni/
sesiune_2007/3_Pierderi.pdf.
as unhealthy social origin. Unless
he was willing to become a member
once said to us: You 3. Keith Hitchins, Romania, 1866-1947
of the Communist Party, they would are living in a sea Humanitas, Bucharest, 1996, chapter
VIII. Society and Economy http://www.
not let him in. So he agreed.
of uncried tears. cimec.ro/istorie/unire/inainte.htm

I began to see, feel and acknowledge 4. http://www2.tvr.ro/calacarte/


the huge impact that these events had index.php?pag=2
on our family when I started to find out places where our great-grandparents,
5. http://www.historyonthenet.
about the constellation work and with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, com/WW2/statistics.htm
my first constellations. For most of the brothers, sisters, and ourselves,
time I knew of, my Dad had worked were not able to look until now. 6. http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victime_ale_
regimului_comunist_din_Rom%C3%A2nia
hard, obeyed the rules of the system,
declined professional promotion, We may find there parts of our souls 7. http://www.corneliu-coposu.
struggled financially and kept himself and the key to understanding why we ro/u/m/raport_final_cadcr.pdf
busy and away from emotional contact. are as we are. We may re-discover
some of our gifts and abilities and we 8. http://www.romanialibera.ro/
opinii/aldine/cate-victime-a-facut-
may see how fortunate we are to be comunismul-in-romania-115213.html
Family Constellation able to finally live in times of peace at
work in Romania least for the past 24 years. So many in 9. Romulus Rusan, Chronology and
geography of communist repression in
our families were not that fortunate.
A lot of the situations enumerated Romania. Census of prison population
(Ed. Civic Academy Press., 2007)
above keep showing up in the Family It is safe now to cry for them.
Constellations work. With the help 10. http://www.procesulcomunismului.
of this wonderful new method, step Then, after enough crying, it will be com/ , Cicerone Ionitoiu : The Genocide
natural to smile. A smile that will come in Romania. (Milestones in the trial of
by step, person by person, we are
of its own accord, as day follows Communism, Apologeticum, 2006).
able to feel, express and sometimes
manage to let go of, or put to rest, night and sunshine follows rain. 11. See the documentary with English
some of the pain from this vast and subtitles: http://www.filmedocumentare.
The deeper my sorrow, the greater com/nascuti-la-comanda-decreteii/
complex traumatic history, from
my joy as Barbara Morgan says
the many hardships, the countless 12. http://womenschronicles.wordpress.
every now and then, quoting from
situations that require bringing to com/2008/08/17/the-decree-770
Khalil Gibrans book The Prophet.
awareness, healing and hopefully 13. www.gandul.info (http://
returning to some kind of normality. For there is so much beauty in this sindromulnu.gandul.info/)
land and in its people; there is unspoilt
countryside, there is genius, passion,
59
Reports On Conferences & Intensives
The US Conference & Intensive 2013

Four Days in the Field a high-rise hotel conference centre in For four days, I noticed the words
Bellevue, feeling I was with the tribe, people had chosen on their name
Heading home up the mountain after the one that belongs to the Earth. So, I tags. I folded mine in half and kept
an uneventful, joint-stiffening night offer a few snapshots, a few sparkling it hidden. I had chosen, Bitterness.
flight, I crested the hill and saw my dewdrops on the infinite Web. When the woman at the desk saw
horse friends, Birdie and Kai, eager to my reaction as I read this luck of the
Enormous gratitude for the Mayan draw, she said I could put it back and
say hello. I stepped out of the car and
and Maori ceremonies for having try again. Since, Trust the Random,
entered the pasture, holding out my
been real and unabbreviated! Blessed is one of my life mottos, I kept it,
hands for soft noses. Birdie would have
by the Maori creation story and an thought of my mother and wondered
none of it. He sent my hands flying and
introduction to the Mayan calendar, again what it was in her female line
went straight to my face. Nose to nose,
my RSVP to the invitation to freedom that had been carried forth to me, this
breath sharing. He knew the Maori
from the Wests division of time and pain I unsuccessfully tried to ease in
way, and he knew I had gone away and
space says: I will eternally attend. her, this poisonous anger that had
actually learned something useful.
been directed at me as an adolescent
Attending Francesca Mason Borings
I came to the conference, having and sent her to an early grave.
sessions answered my question about
attended constellations with Mark
my role, as a motley, exhausted, and On Sunday, I unfolded Bitterness and
Johnson during a nomadic year and
warring constellation of all the aspects entered the group constellation. And,
a half, in which I was called to attend
of my inner selves; the teachings I have there she was, Desire, right in front
to three elderly family members.
received, the lineage gifts I have been of me, and I heard echoing waves of
As one passed, another recovered
given responsibility for, buckets full of female ancestors saying: No! I will not
from a broken ankle, and my father
denials, years of hiding, and just plain be controlled! I will not give in! I will
and I had lots of time for stories
old me, were invited to ceremony. survive! I reeled on, and met Blood.
and straight talk about when, not if
he will stop driving, constellations My mother and her mother came to
In that large circle, I prayed for sincere
opened doors and closed chapters. me, with a line of others behind. How
willingness to be called to represent
torn they all were, these women,
an aspect of nature. Nothing came but
Upon returning to Vermont, I felt who lived an impossibility of being
ideas. And, I refused to be moved by
called to bring constellations to the mothers and being passionate in their
an idea. I started to get warm. Then,
small community I have served for vocations and callings. The healing
I started to get hot. This was nothing
over 20 years. I facilitated two potent sentence came: I come from a long
like a hot flush. It started in my feet
and beneficial constellations and then line of women, who did not want to be
and rose, fire in every cell of my body.
knew that attending the conference women. I sat down to hear Tata Pedro
I took off my sweater, and suddenly
would begin to reveal whatever my singing, as compassion warmed my
stood up, saying: I stand for the
own personal calling is to the form. bloodstream and flooded my heart.
core of the Earth, which seemed a
It did, and so very much more.
bit grandiose, but my choice was to As, I write this, there is a low hum
I have never understood how anyone stand up or spontaneously combust. in the wood stove that I have
the knowing field

can ignore the field. This has not never heard before. The wind is
The Sun, the polar ice, photosynthesis,
always felt like a blessing. After singing a new song. The ancestors
and Deer, whom I saw as my Angel,
attending the conference, I am certain are alive. I am so grateful.
all there together. The wisdom is in
that living in the field is the most
motion. The dance goes on. As a Kristin Borquist
natural, mundane, fantastic thing,
Siberian story I was once told teaches:
and that to be estranged from it is a
Things are truly well-arranged. Huntington, Vermont, USA
primary source of pain and discord on
kristinborquist@me.com
the planet. There I was, walking around
www.kbestudio.com
60
the knowing field
The Loving Field of the US Intensive & Conference

Intensive: Farmington, we have access to information that ancestors who support the healing
Connecticut, 31 July cannot be consciously thought of with of the living. Processes of healing
3 August 2013 our brain. The new knowledge that and being healed flowed together.
emerges can make change possible.
During the closing circle of the sixth However, when a deep emotional pain Alongside this, the art of being
North American Systemic Constella- is revealed, there is a strong need for present (Thomas Bryson and Ursula
tions Intensive one of the participants support. So, we all look for several Franke, Jean Paul Resseguier) with
put the microphone to his heart. forms of support. Support can be the an open heart makes it possible to
Immediately, much energy was flowing simple process of putting parents induce healing processes for others
into the circle. This was a very powerful behind the client; or by also placing at the same time as receiving healing
moment. He didnt say a word but there the Great Mother (Dan Booth Cohen) ourselves. Using this same technique
was so much love in this action and this behind someone, or by using things out of being present in a loving way during
love could be felt as a flow of energy. At of nature (Francesca Mason Boring). constellations enables us to create a
the end we were invited to sing a sound supportive loving field that continues
from the bottom of our heart. Those For me, the support that is most during a whole day workshop without
who wanted could sit in the middle of effective is the healing energy of loss of energy and draws on the energy
the circle. When I was sitting in the cen- the human heart. Standing as a created by the group rather than
tre of the singing circle, surrounded by representative in a constellation with focusing solely on the individual. Being
sounds, emerging from the heart, it was a loving heart, makes it possible present with a loving heart changes
as if I were covered with thousands for the pain, sadness and sorrow of the level of consciousness and
of light sparks and when it stopped, it the person you represent, to melt makes it possible to solve problems
felt as if I received a small personal gift like snow in the sun and this in turn that were not solvable before.
from everyone in the circle in my heart. makes it possible for love to flow
more freely to the next generation. Just being present and loving towards
The electrical activity of the heart has our own children and family on a day
been measured for more than 100 by day basis day can make this world
years. According to a recent Fins study a better place with less pain and more
(Nummenmaa 2013) eleven out of
Conference: Seattle, health. Mothers and fathers already
fourteen emotions are felt in the heart.
Oct 10-13 2013 do this when they take their young
The heart is not only the physiological children in their arms and comfort
During the 2013 US Systemic
motor of our body, it also reflects our them, by being present in love.
Constellations Conference in Seattle
emotions and it generates the most we were able to benefit from the My grateful thanks to the
powerful healing energy. Yet, many healing energy offered by the Maori organisers of this wonderful
of us neglect this healing energy. people from New Zealand. Personally, Intensive and Conference.
I was literally touched by the light
Einstein once wrote: No problem
of their hands, but there was more. Maria Goossens, MD
can be solved from the same level of
The way they worked together was
consciousness that created it. I think Strombeek-Bever, Belgium
fascinating. All of them were present in
this sentence could also be applied dr.m.goossens@gmail.com
a loving way, including their ancestors.
to constellations. The initial setting up www.dokter-goossens.be
The ancestors were not just their
of a constellation starts with the issue
direct relatives as we understand the
of a client. Through the knowing field
word, but beyond that a group of

61
Annual Intensive, Kloster Bernried,
Germany May 2013

staff, the enthusiasm, generosity n The different approaches and styles


and humanity of faculty members, of the facilitators and the strength
organisers and participants all served and depth of the constellations.
to create a sense of belonging and a
wonderfully holding environment in n Some personal discoveries as a
which deep work could be done. representative and issue holder.

Starting with a bodywork session each n The tears of love, pain, joy
morning and ending in the evening and laughter and the sense
with a choice of participant-led of wholeness, community
workshops or sing alongs, each day and shared humanity.
was a feast for body, mind and soul.
n Images of the lake in
So what stands out for me now a few mist, rain and sun.
weeks later as I continue to process my
n The smell of lilac in the garden.
learning and look back over that week?
n The sounds of birdsong by
n The sheer intensity of living,
day and frogsong by night.
breathing and talking constellations
with others from morning to night. n Daniellas Constellation Blues.

n My admiration for those for whom n The feast and the feathers
English doesnt come easily. of the last evening.
I had of course heard of the Intensive
at Bernried, but, until this year, heavy n The agony of having to choose
work commitments every May meant between several equally interesting
putting any interest in it aside. I arrived workshops each morning.
with few expectations other than
n The growing trust and intimacy of
that my learning and practice would
the on-going multi-cultural peer
be enhanced by the opportunity to
group, (Ten different nationalities).
work over the course of six days with
several different senior practitioners
and participants from all over the world.
This process began at the Connecting
Fields Conference in Copenhagen
which immediately preceded the
Intensive. There, some excellent My heartfelt gratitude to all and
workshops prepared the ground. particularly to those who work so hard
to provide this wonderful opportunity
It is impossible to convey the richness for learning and discovery each year.
of the Bernried experience. So, all I
am going to attempt is to sketch a Janet Hermann
flavour of it. Coming from the urban
concrete and glass environment North London, United Kingdom
of the Copenhagen conference jm.hermann@btinternet.com
the knowing field

centre and the very late spring in www.constellationworkshops.co.uk


both the UK and Denmark, the lush
greenness of Bernrieds woods,
hills, meadows and gardens was
balm for the soul. The environment
outside was reflected inside, and the
friendliness of the nuns and convent

62
the knowing field
VISIT TO CHINA
Workshops, Conference & a New Project

Group experiment led by Angelika Schenk

This is a short report on what is going work should be a subject in his chairman of a benevolent association
on in Beijing, concerning constellations. department. So Professor Shi is has provided funds for a conference
the initiator, and many professors and a kind woman offered her centre
When Bert began his movements of from many Chinese universities as the workshop space and provided
the soul, I was dreaming that it would came to learn about it and to see funds for accommodation for students
become a barefoot movement. The only what they could do to help spread and teachers during the workshop.
person I knew of who had tried was this method of healing wounds. There is no objection from anyone at
Rachel Schlosser. And Bertold Ulsamer this stage, but more and more support
wanted to support her. But this aspect Prof Dr. Shi and his wife Dr. Shi, both from colleagues and staff who also
of the work went (or remained?) quiet.1 neuro-psychologists, are solidly in love came to our constellation workshop.
In this way there was a dream to take with constellation work. Both are very
constellations to the villages of Mexico, open-hearted and open-minded, and My dear friend Alex Shi took me
also teaching the method in a way that keenly motivated to turn Psychology along to Beijing to present family
the villagers could spread it further. into a science that actually helps constellations, together with him. So
people. Prof. Shi wants his students we had five constellation days, with
Now something wonderful is happening to undergo thorough training so that university students and therapists.
in China, right in the heart of Beijing, they can go out to where people Tears were flowing profusely as we
at the Chinese Academy of Science, are traumatised. We have already went deeper into their issues.
in the department of Psychology. An discussed a research project for
amazingly warm-hearted, modest school children with difficulties. No In between the workshops a
and natural professor came to the wonder Prof. Shi attracts donors. A conference took place, convened in
conclusion that family constellation less than three weeks, for professors
63
and other lecturers from all over China.
There were at least three hundred of
Now something Acknowledgement

them. They expressed warm-hearted wonderful is My grateful thanks to my friend


and sincere interest in the work. Alexander Shi (hs.in.China@gmail.
happening in China, com) for inviting me and taking me
We all do our constellation work
differently. There were two presenters
right in the heart there, and to the amazing powerhouse,
much loved, big-hearted Professor Shi,
from greater China. Valent Lee from of Beijing, at the (shizb@psych.ac.cn), the initiator of the
Hong Kong mixes constellation work idea to bring Family Constellations to
with Neuro-linguistic programming Chinese Academy Chinese Universities, and more, also
and he can do a constellation very of Science. to his very enthusiastic and open-
quickly. Netra Chou from Taiwan minded wife, and to the many other
presented his work, which is also lecturers, professors and psychologists
one of the faster styles, remaining who are very excited about the
close to the very immediate relatives. their country with their thoughts, and project which is now well on its way.
All has its place and value. under Prof. Shis loving guidance,
Angelika Schenk
they have every opportunity to shape
As for me, I see great potential in
loving thoughts, and they can do it Gympie, Australia
doing family constellations work over
together. This brings great hope. I told angelika.schenk@gmail.com
a few generations. It takes more time,
them half jokingly that they had a big www.family-constellations.org
but the participants engage very
responsibility on their shoulders to
deeply. Each constellation spoke
help shape a China that the rest of the Note:
deeply to them. Many of us German
world was not afraid of. Well with the
constellators felt an inner need and 1. A Barefoot movement is an initiative,
support of so many university teachers
an obligation to face our war burden usually initiated by one or very few
in so many cities, why not dream pioneers. There have been the barefoot
before we could go out into the world.
big? Theres room for many to help. doctors in China in the 30s, the barefoot
China has a deeply burdened history, teachers in India, barefoot nuns collecting
Prof. Shi does this family constellations children who were on their own
and the young people know very
project in his spare time, amongst people who care and initiate something
little about it. So tremendous hatred that does a lot of good to many.
all his other duties. And all the other
and confusion are still vibrant in the
professors and helpers involved offer
young generation, misplaced on to
their time for free. Love carries them
the generations who suffered directly.
and his colleagues and students
The parent-child connection is often
in growing numbers. The cohesion
in a comatose state. Many members
and interaction is just stunning.
of the parents generation were
separated from their own parents and Once decided, things happen fast here.
lived like orphans or semi-orphans.
I am really inspired, and I
I told them that as university graduates will visit Beijing again.
they will belong to those who shape
the knowing field

64
Book Review

the knowing field


Colette Green

Conceptual Constellations
By Joy Mann PhD

Published by the author 2013


ISBN -13: 978 1490994758 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN -10: 1490994750
BISAC: Family & Relationships/Family Relationships
Kindle version: www.Kindlemonster.com
Foreword by Philippa Lubbock

Joy Manns new book: Conceptual system, to the collective unconscious out the orders that apply in Family
Constellations is the second in a series into the realm of the greater soul. Constellations. Joy has also used
of five entitled The Constellated Field. this way of working to explore
The first in this series is a handbook, This book reflects her integration sexuality and sexual orientation.
an excellent and extremely popular of the symbolic, archetypal and
introduction to family constellations family constellations. The research She says:
which is widely used and has been or background work for this
book was carried out between We are hominus narrativus, the
translated into several languages.
Switzerland and Belgium where the species that tells stories because
The second in the series, Conceptual
first of her conceptual constellation it lives in stories. Stories allow us
Constellations, illustrates one of the
workshops took place. to create journeys, like the heros
many and varied ways that the field
journey, or the shamans path and to
of constellation work has grown and
experience their various stages....to
diversified in the past years. In this Mann adds to recognise and experience archetypes....
book the author shares with us how
she has, and how we can, explore what the constellation we never understand them because
like the constellated field they are
it is to be human through what she has with homoeopathic bigger than we are but Conceptual
termed Conceptual Constellations.
sensitivity, Constellations allow us to place
them, to see and feel them. (p.43)
This book operates at the intersection
between abstract conceptual elements testing the effect A Conceptual Constellation, a non-
and the more traditional approaches
which centre on individual family
at all times. personal family constellation is set
up by taking the clients personal
systems. A distinguishing feature of
Conceptual Constellations are not problem, inventing a story, using a fairy
Joy Manns work is how she brings to
personal constellations. They allow us tale, myth or legend and setting up a
the foreground the linkages between
to improvise new patterns; they are hypothetical situation. Joy explains
various conceptual elements which
the stories we inherit and inhabit; the how she grounds her groups with
form part of a narrative, script, fairy
archetypes, fairy tales, family stories, her conscious breathing exercises to
tale or myth, thus moving from the
ancesteral myths, the whisperings connect people back to their core,
individual family system to the wider
with all their effects. Conceptual to inner presence, the experience of
Constellations can be used to test the present moment and to being in
65
alignment with all that is. Participants where she highlights what can go I come home. (p.vii). Threads of her
may represent different genders. wrong, Joy brings a clarity around the psychology and Buddhist background
Often she asks for representatives possibility of representatives wandering glisten through. She is also a sanskrit
from the field and has also entered into an acting out mode when a scholar. Her study of voice dialogue
the field as representative herself. story is told or too much information to work on the personality enhances
Mann adds to the constellation with given. I felt a sense of completeness her exploration of the seemingly non-
homoeopathic sensitivity, testing when this was highlighted. personal in conceptual constellations.
the effect at all times. She refers to Joy is also a Jungian and what better
seasoned representatives and in a The book is divided into four parts: background from which archetypal
particular situation only being able to part 1 is story, part 2 is conceptual constellations can spring; it makes
reach such depths within the work constellations, part 3 is story again sense that dreams and stories, fables
because of the relationships that have and part 4 is fate, destiny and karma. and archetypes are her medium in the
formed between group members who quest to make meaning of our human
There is a delightful lightness about
have worked together over time. condition whilst looking at the gods.
this book, which I have also noticed
The author distinquishes ego from soul in Manns other books. Joy has a It is early morning as I finish this review,
representations, saying that acting special gift for bringing the reader a dark, December Irish morning, after
out the egos desires is a much lower through the most difficult fields with a night of dreams; light is coming
energy experience than allowing the a gentle touch, as if in a fairy tale; a gently and slowly. As I have been
souls wisdom to use us as its vehicle. magical opening or insight can occur immersed in this book for some time
She cautions that when too much like a light breath upon water and then now I connect with the symbolism,
information or story is given, then a begins the wider and wider rippling knowing that unconscious material
tendency for roleplay can occur and effect. Breathing is at the core of is rising, coming from the dark to the
people want to portray something her being. She skilfully incorporates light and I agree and breathe. It brings
rather than engage in authentic breathing and grounding exercises me to thinking about the quest, the
representation. Wanting she equates throughout. Joy is a breathworker, journey of the seeker, the treasure we
with ego work and representing her work is grounded in the breath have been given in constellation work
with soul work. She trusts the field of life, in coming to consciousness and how it seems to multiply, ever
implicitly and is guided by it. The field through conscious breathing. The expanding, going deeper and deeper.
taught her another way of obtaining whole book is studded with small As Philippa Lubbock says in her
information from representatives, of cases; these are references, just a few forward to the book the universal law
bringing in representatives. She tells lines, just enough to illustrate a point. of interconnectedness is the heartbeat
of her personal experience when the of Conceptual Constellations. (p.ix)
You can feel the ancestral foundations
field was talking to her as well as
on which she stands her This book serves and explores this law,
through her. Guidance comes from
connection to Bert Hellinger and her the first principle of relationship where
the field. The field does not do what
acknowledgement of him and his everything belongs and has a place.
we want, we do what the field wants
work and her connection to Philippa I am in awe again at the wonder of
and we go where the field guides
Lubbock and her acknowledgement constellation work and its development
us, the field leads and we follow.
of Philippa as her first introduction to, and feel a deep gratitude for Joy
I welcomed the distinction between the and teacher of, constellation work. Manns prolific writing, her creativity,
work of the personality and the work Then she acknowledges Ewe Foley her navigational skills, her deep love
of the soul as an important distinction as having been her life coach. Ewe and knowledge of constellation work
to be made by the constellator, so brought her to work in Poland and and the gift of presenting it to us in this
we may be clear in which realm the she went back to her own Polish form of Conceptual Constellations.
work is taking place. In the section roots: When I go to Poland, in a way

Colette is an integrative psychotherapist and organisational consultant specialising in


the knowing field

systemic and psychodynamic work and is also qualified in Equine assisted psychotherapy
and learning. She has a small private practice in Castlelyons, Southern Ireland. She
works as a supervisor and trainer with The Irish group for Systemic Constellation work,
the former Bert Hellinger Institute of Ireland. Colette runs Family constellations, Hellinger
Sciencia and EAP workshops together with CPD/ trainings in Ireland and India.

info@ochre.ie
www.ochre.ie

66
Book Review

the knowing field


Dr. Nancy Kehr

Returning to Membership in Earth Community:


Systemic Constellations with Nature

Edited by Ken Sloan and Francesca Mason Boring.


Published by Stream of Experience
Productions, Pagosa Springs, Colorado
ISBN-10: 0982607768 Kindle
ISBN-13: 978-0982607763 Book

Returning to Membership in Earth We hear from facilitators whose accounts of how nature constellations
Community highlights what I feel is culture and family background were are used to include the voice of nature
the quintessential gift of Systemic such that nature was automatically in what nature itself sees, as to how
Constellation work and that is that included as part of the family and balance can be restored in a natural
it broadens the perspective. community. Given as much place system that is out of balance. When
and voice as any human member, the human mind is taken out of the
Just like with an iceberg, most of what these stories are modern tellings of equation, the movement and feeling of
is influencing a system is below the nature can come in to inform a group
surface, unseen, and what is visible
is only a small part of the whole. So We hear from looking for solutions or understanding.

it is with the natural world and in our


relationship to the Earth. This book is a
facilitators whose I know for myself that the story I have
been told or even tell myself may not
rich collection of differing applications culture and family be the true or complete picture. My
and experiences documented by intellectual knowledge, background,
trained facilitators of constellation background were exposure or lack thereof may have
work that show the reader ways such that nature created a picture or an idea of a
in which that which is below the solution that while well-meaning, is
surface can be acknowledged and was automatically nonetheless coming from my singular
given a voice, a voice that can be
instrumental in returning a single
included as part point of view. In personal experience
of nature constellations and in
human, family, community or a of the family and reading this book I am reminded to
whole ecosystem to balance. watch and allow the information or
community. solution to come from the Knowing
With a total of 14 contributing authors Field which is far greater than one
from five different countries, it is human mind or experience.
what we all once knew and how we
divided into very distinct sections
all once lived that being in harmony
so that it may be read from cover There are stories from facilitators
with our earth home served all.
to cover or the reader may pick and who seem to have always known
choose the area of most immediate For perhaps the more intellectual or the on a cellular level that nature could
interest; however, I would encourage passionate environmentalist, there are strengthen the soul and help an
everyone to read the whole book. individual return to their natural
67
Earth community kinds of nature constellations, my
own perspective was broadened
influencing how we interact and live in
balance with nature. Earth community
is not something with the chapter on dream is not something we can opt out of
constellations. It quite honestly and as in keeping with living in any
we can opt out of had not occurred to me to include community, there are responsibilities,
and as in keeping dream work in the realm of nature. but this book also shows us the
joys that can be experienced when
with living in any This book is a journey no less than any we live in full awareness of all
constellation workshop. For those who
community, there are are familiar with constellation work in
members of this earth community.

responsibilities this book, nature is presented in all the


ways that a human may show up: as
Note:
state of well being. These facilitators the client; acting as a representative,
speak of the places they took a resource or co-facilitator. We see Returning to Membership in Earth
problems presented, solutions found Community is available in Kindle,
group to have the experience of
black and white, and full colour copy
being immersed in nature, to have and always the invitation to allow
on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/
all the senses experience it and for something new to emerge. Returning-Membership-Earth-Community-
then take the experience deeper by Constellations/dp/098260775X
My hope is that this book makes its
inviting the participants to embody
way into the library of everyone who
nature or to walk and be with
is familiar with constellation work, but
nature as the sentient being it is.
beyond that would be that it makes its
While I have been fortunate enough way into the classroom and into the
to be a part of many different hands of those who are and will be

Dr. Nancy Kehr is the founder of Soul-Listener a business dedicated to helping people
connect to a broader way of knowing, to open to a new way of being; to begin to see and
tell a different, more empowered life story. During her career as a chiropractor Nancy saw
the connection between the physical health of her patients and how they were feeling
about their lives on an emotional and spiritual level. In 2001 Nancy was introduced to
Trans-Generational or Systemic Family Constellation Work and saw how this powerful work
could help people see and release unconscious stories they had been living out, stories
that affected their health, their relationships and their connection to a life of well-being.

NancyKehr@Soul-listener.com
www.Soul-listener.com
the knowing field

68
A Consenting Adult: White Lies

the knowing field


Jan Crawford

the only colorless one again blinding loyalties wisdom and kindness mine, their
this crowded as hell subway hearts also filled with hope for life to come and then
a thin sliver of humanity the grief as well for those lost young or
pulsing itself straight through standing on other shores and I have learned
this mornings agreeing earth it is not mine to damn or justify their acts

pretending Im not corrupted when I can barely face my own or what I am willing
by my own DNAs anxious superiority to return besides my shame turning away again
as even (they tell me) my purest of drawn back into the inertia of faithful belonging
bloods twists and cracks within to those who also denied any thoughts of gratitude
the lie of it I want to scream and to those who would never consider reparations

love me they were the greedy bastards besides what could I sacrifice, this is too difficult
they seized and shipped and sold your bodies there must be another way, too hard to calculate
I am just a faded and fading old lady too unpleasant to live without any one
innocent of course of any crime of my pretty things Ill think about it tomorrow:
the air between us thick and sharp perhaps an honoring bow will be enough

trying to act as if we do not know some of mine the ride will soon be over anyway when suddenly
worked and beat or raped to death many of yours overpowering history and broken promises the young woman
that Washingtons friend Col. William Crawford offers me her seat with a complex smile and for a
having taken two towns and doing great service moment a relief from this tiring war spreads like
was burned at the stake by Delaware Chief Pike fluid grace across all foolish myths of difference

his penis black and shredded and still smoking the only distinction now the sweet difference of youth
as a squaw poured embers into his half-open scalp and age and of the slow drift north and west of my tribe
both praying they say to their gods drawn to the cooler angles of the African sun
each assuming his obvious righteousness our skins however forever longing for the warm
Pikes eyes wild with the thrill of vengeance beauty of their original colors and ways

that my ancestor John Edwards bequeathed his son and tonight a Shoshone elder, generations at her back
a negro boy named Jeff, a brown mare, a bed will sing prayers over our pale souls widening the circle
or that my occasional housekeeper Maria beyond anything justified each chant dissolving
will never cross her own borders to meet the materiality of time, mine and yours, life and death
my awkward gestures of friendship you and I, the mystery and what we do think we know

shots in the steamy Texas night still ringing louder each chant accelerating the universes rate of expansion
than anything I could ever say or do pushing life further and further into the inclusive truth
the dogs howls still closer and teaching agreement with my part of this and the
than she will ever allow me near enough courage to look into the others but also my own
to know or even imagine with her sometimes raging sad and tender eyes knowing

and dangling underground that other truth tomorrow the screeching silver doors will propel us once
I do love my own and can now receive the gifts again into the new mornings streets and the struggle
my bones my mind my breath itself to exclude nothing, to hold it all at once together
their desperation and cruelty and grit mine to remember who is free and who is not
and at one time their trouble with drink mine to remember when I am free and when I am not

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Training in Systemic Constellations Work
2014-2015, Oxford, UK, see: www.coreconstellations.co.uk

Teachers: Dr Albrecht Mahr, Christine Blumenstein, Vivian Broughton, Clare Crombie, Sheila McCarthy-
Dodd, Dr Dimitrina Spencer and others

Three-Day Modules and Supervised Peer Group Practice start now or with the next cycle of
workshops!

Join individual workshops or the full training!

Themes include:
The principles of Systemic Constellations Work (SCW) in practice; radical inclusiveness, the phenomenological approach; the
knowing body; principles of trauma constellations; trauma theory and practice; birth trauma, trust, truth and uncertainty;
symptoms and diseases in SCW; mindfulness in SCW; developing facilitators presence; deepening integrity in facilitation;
principles of individual SCW; using oneself in constellations; clarity principles and techniques; coaching and organizational
constellations; love and couples work; spiritual aspects of SCW; safety, crises, difficulties and challenges in SCW and others.

Learn with internationally renowned and most experienced facilitators!

Get inspiration, in-depth knowledge and experience as a facilitator through linking theory and practice in a
collaborative learning environment!

For more INFORMATION:


CONTACT: spencer.dimitrina@gmail.com
www.coreconstellations.co.uk

Great book, excellent read..... Ivo Geurts


Enjoyed the clear and welcoming tone in which it is written. If you
want to know about this subject - I really recommend this book.
Mayadevi Dichmann

This book gave me profound insights,...Well summarized and clear


examples. Jan Op De Beek

The author took his time to write a complete overview of


constellation work, with focus on experiences from his own work or
relevant work of others, lots of examples and meaningful
explanations. Very helpful for those learning about constellation
work, but also for people that want to better understand life and its
hidden dynamics. Claudia Crisan

Family and other Constellations Revealed, Indra Torsten Preiss


This easy-to-read book comprehensively explains the method and theory of constellations. To augment
the knowing field

understanding, the text is illustrated with detailed authentic case studies from Indras practice. The latest
research and innovative applications of systemic constellations, such as organizational, structural and table
constellations are also discussed, as well as relevant scientific research.
More information: www.the-systemic-view.com
e-book for $ 4,99 / 3,09 / 3,78 till 1aug.
Order now as e-book or papaerback in your local Amazon store
70
the knowing field
Training in
Systemic
Constellations
for professional and personal
development.

Foundation Training
2014 (Mar-Nov)
Founded in 2000
This Foundation training by some of the UKs
offers both theoretical leading teachers and
teaching and experiential practitioners, the Centre
learning in Systemic Family delivers professional
Constellations. There are courses, seminars
and workshops in
five training modules,
systemic constellations
tutorial sessions, workshop
worldwide.
participation and trainee
community days. Open to all.

Couples Training
Founders
2014 (Mar-Sep) Judith Hemming
This training, led by Judith Jutta ten Herkel
Hemming with Chris Williams Richard Wallstein

and Nicola Dunn, focuses on
Directors
the shifts and additional skills
Gaye Donaldson
needed for working with Nicola Dunn
couples. As well looking at Edward Rowland
specific topics and principles, Chris Williams
it will also focus on presence,
and an understanding of the
many common contexts that
bring couples into therapy.

Further Professional
Development
These modules offer recent
and well-established systemic
practitioners the opportunity
to practice, deepen skill and For Further Information
please contact us by
receive guidance on their
phone on:
work. See website for 2014
+44 (0)7929 313 976
dates. Email and website
details below
Systemic Coaching &

Constellations
Organisational trainings
(Levels 1& 2) coming in 2014.
Details to be published soon...

info@centreforsystemicconstellations.com
www.centreforsystemicconstellations.com

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Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the
Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.
NATIVE AMERICAN SAYING

Venue: Emmaus House, Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1BN.


www.emmaushouse.org.uk

Cost: 150 / early bird (before end March 2014) 130


Combined with facilitator training: 280 (early bird 245)

Francesca Mason Boring, Please make cheques payable to: Coming Home and send to
bi-cultural Shoshone author, Barbara Morgan, 7 Locks Hill, Frome BA11 1NA or pay by Paypal.
teacher and facilitator is one
of the foremost contribu-
tors to the development of For further info: theknowingfield@gmail.com / 07966755509
the application of systems
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constellation to environ-
mental issues and incorpo-
rating nature as a resource
in systemic resolutions.

72
the knowing field
Any fully trained Facilitator of Systems Constellation is eligible to
enrol in this training: working with family systems, organisations,
communities, and land based environmental an political issues.

This workshop is highly experiential and each participant will facilitate to


assure their experience and comfort with this approach.

Venue: Emmaus House, Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1BN.


www.emmaushouse.org.uk

Cost: 175 / early bird (before end March 2014) 150


Combined price for facilitator training and open workshop 28o Francesca Mason Boring,
Early bird (before end March 2014) 245. bi-cultural Shoshone author,
teacher and facilitator is one
of the foremost contribu-
Please make cheques payable to: Coming Home and send to tors to the development of
Barbara Morgan, 7 Locks Hill, Frome BA11 1NA or pay by Paypal. the application of systems
constellation to environ-
mental issues and incorpo-
For further info: theknowingfield@gmail.com / 07966755509 rating nature as a resource
in systemic resolutions.

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Two 3-day teaching seminars in
Stockholm in springtime!
April 13-15, 2014
Dr. Albrecht Mahr
Experiencing the spiritual essence of
systemic constellation work

June 11-13, 2014


Christine Blumenstein-Essen
Constellation work with ego states and Constellations Camp
inner activities around trauma and
psychosomatic symptoms April 20-25, 2014
Send for Info: info@askis.se At the Bridge Between Worlds Retreat Center
near Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
This is a cooperation between Svenska Hellinger Insti-
tutet (The Swedish Hellinger Institute) and ASKIS, (The FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER
Academy for Systemic Constellations in Sweden) www.constellationcamp2014.evenbrite.com

SUPERVISION INDIVIDUAL CONSULTATIONS TRAINING WORKSHOPS

Next UK Training scheduled


for October 2015 in Frome,
Somerset. Apply for details.

WORKSHOPS
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DUBLIN 7-9 MARCH 2014


For further info on any of the FROME 12-13 JULY 2014
above contact Barbara on
theknowingfield@gmail.com CONSTELLATIONS CAMP,
or visit www.cominghome.org.uk SOMERSET 11-15 AUGUST 2014

74
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