Collective Constellations

Collective Constellations

Stories hold such power and fascination for me. I love reading them and I love listening to them.

For me, constellation is a way to access the hidden stories and the silenced voices of the ancestors. It is all too easy to accept a version of events that is passed down from one generation to the next, from one person to the next, but with each telling the story can become that little more sanitised, a little more palatable.

A story is generally told from one perspective and that perspective may not be the truth, it may be skewed. When we share or tell stories from a collective narrative we can shape how events are remembered.

Take a collective event like WWI. It was the war that was fought on the Western front, but what about the Eastern? Was it the war where young men were proudly fighting for their countries? Or was it the slaughter of a generation by the rich elite? Or was it the war that was won by the American intervention?

Those are all collective narratives, collective memories of a massive tangle of individual experiences and stories. But what about the individual stories within the collective tale? Where are the separated loves, the grieving mothers, the orphans, the dead? Their untold stories are the ones that tug at the edges of our consciousness within our individual family and ancestral fields. Those are the silent voices that come forward when we explore a collective theme within the constellation context.

The collective constellations are where the root entanglements of fear come from for each of us individually.

I am a Family Constellation therapist and teacher, and I am a physicist. I have worked with constellation as a therapeutic modality for nearly two decades. My initial training was with Bert Hellinger, the founder of family constellation therapy, in Austria.

Until 2016 my constellation work was largely focused on individual and group healing.

Since then I have been exploring the possibilities and boundaries of constellation at a macro level working with the International Relations Department of a University in Scotland looking at the efficacy using constellation as a tool for peace and reconciliation in global conflict.

I like to think of the weaving between ancestral constellation and activism as sacred. For me it is the weaving of the realms of the forgotten dead and the forgotten living and at the realm that exists between those.

The collective constellation work requires a slowing down. A stopping. A deep listening and witnessing of the shadows and the dark that exists within each of us and our family and ancestral fields.

The past lives inside of us and if it is entangled it informs our present.

Who you are in this moment is the result of a complex field of layers of energetic influence from people you have known and loved, choices you have made, and the family and ancestors that you come from. Their memories—the imprint of them—flow through your veins. Their fight to survive beats within your heart.

Your ancestors aren’t some dim and distant spot in the depths of your family stories. Their absence is present with you right now. You are here because they were here.

Understanding, connecting, and engaging with the stories of those who have lived before us and shaped our world is a meaningful and empowering process in fully claiming our place in our own life.

Our ancestors and their choices flow through us. Their stories are woven into our souls in such a way that we can be unconsciously drawn to follow their footsteps, seeking to fulfil their hopes and dreams and holding them tightly as if they were our own.

Family and ancestral constellation allows us to explore and uncover these stories and our own inheritances.

We hold the inheritance of trauma from the unseen, the silenced, the forgotten, the excluded.

Our ability to belong and be us is informed by their experience of belonging and their beliefs.

Constellation theory is based on the basic principle that each and every soul has a place, each and every soul belongs. No matter who they are and what they have done.

If someone is excluded, for whatever reason, it has an impact an effect on the field of influence connected to that person.

If their belonging is entangled with unacknowledged trauma
then so is ours.

We are each teaming with the field of influence of our family and ancestors.

Take a moment to consider your own life. Think firstly of the obvious family connections: your parents, your grandparents, and siblings. Then allow your thoughts to drift back to your childhood friends and perhaps your first loves. Then keep going; think about your former partners, past and present friends, colleagues, and even close neighbours. Think about all the people you have had connections with through accidents or circumstances outside of your control, car accidents or surgeries where perhaps you have been a victim of or responsible for someone else’s trauma. All of those people have a place within your field of influence to a greater or lesser degree. Every one of them. And that’s a lot of people.

From this perspective of beginning to see the vastness of your own energetic field of connections, take the next step and think about all of those same connections but from your parents’ perspective, and your grandparents. And then your great grandparents. Including any wars or conflicts they were involved in.

Can you feel the breadth and depth of the field of influence flowing down to and through your personal place? All of those different points of connection and disconnection? Can you feel the potential of the chaos contained inside?

Now imagine that within the collective?

The belonging for us as individuals flows to us from the structure of our family, our relationships, the community around us, and the collective global influences.

The belonging is based upon the balance within each part and is most often seen through a lens of shared beliefs.

Think about the beliefs we often unquestioningly accept within the family that we grow up with, and then, if perhaps those beliefs aren’t in resonance with the beliefs that we and our partners or close friends share as we grow up, how these differences can create tensions or even conflict.

Everything from beliefs around relationship etiquette, parenting, political beliefs, to who is defined as belonging and who is defined as ‘other,’ are filters that are often put in place before we are born, and that we may take years, decades, or a lifetime, to recognise as not being universal truths, but beliefs and perceptions that we choose or that have been chosen for us.

Our inherited beliefs can be cultural, religious, spiritual, political, personal, and even unconscious in nature. When our beliefs—the passport to our belonging and the structural order within the field—are not accepted and balanced internally within ourselves, then the field of influence will become disrupted.

For example, if you have been brought up Catholic and then choose to become Buddhist. Or if your family does not believe in divorce and you choose, reluctantly or otherwise, to become divorced.

When our own beliefs are in opposition to our family or community, we can become displaced as we unconsciously try to balance that within ourselves.

In addition to our inherited and personal beliefs there is another very important factor that we need to be aware of.

If there has been migration or displacement—e.g. moving to another country—within our family field of influence, then the belonging and the order within the structure of our family system is also disrupted.

In every single collective constellation that I have facilitated the fracturing of those left behind and those who left and the effect on the descendants in the present – that’s us – shows up. In every single one. The cost of leaving. The ripping up of roots. The cost of staying. The loss of the generations yet to come. The ungrieved grief. This is what we work with in the collective field. The ungrieved grief. The unlived dreams.

When a constellation is created it reveals a map of all of the entanglements and interconnections that are knowingly or unknowingly affecting us in the present moment. It allows us to begin to see and feel all of the silent and invisible influences around us. It shows us what is standing between where we are and where we would like to be.

Constellation allows for the creation of an energetic map of all of the connections and loyalties, known and unknown, within the field of influence upon us where we can interact with and explore the entangled connections.

One of the trickiest elements of the constellation process to get your head around is the tangible and often visceral experience of the unfolding of the influent field within a created constellation.

This is where, by stepping into the map of relationships within the created constellation or by creating a constellation map of the relationships in our mind’s eye, we experience and can articulate the emotional intricacies of an entanglement that is not our own and that comes from outside of us.

We step into the created constellation field and experience the energetic influences from a perspective outside of ourselves. This effect of the constellation results in the invisible influences—the invisible inheritance—being made visible.

Within these fields that show up within the created constellation map is the inherited ‘knowing’ of our ancestors, both individually within our family, and collectively.

We will feel it in our bodies, we will feel it in our souls. We will be stepping into the sacred.

It takes bravery and courage to choose to sit with the unspoken and silenced stories of the ancestors. You may be the first to choose to witness in this way in your lineage. You may be the first to uncover and listen to all of the voices within these stories. Take a moment to acknowledge that within yourself. The bravery and the courage.

Whose story are you living?