The intention for this ritual is not to get rid of fear, but to release its power over you, to neutralise and harmonise your relationship with it.
As always use stones or little objects to represent. Set up a circle of your ancestors, calling in wise, loving, compassionate ancestors who are able and willing to support you as you work with your fear. Really take your time to do this, connecting with every stone, with every ancestor.
This is a very important step in this ritual, as you are creating a safe holding space that will support you as you step into fear place. At any point in the ritual if it gets too much you are welcome to stand with your ancestors, holding their hands, looking into their eyes, feeling them holding you.
In the middle of the circle of your ancestors, set up a representative for yourself and for the fear. Be specific about what fear your are representing. Stand first in your own place, tuning into your body sensations as you become aware of ancestral circle and the representative of fear in front of you.
See what feelings show up. Use simple sentences to acknowledge what is. Then stand in the place of fear, being very clear to represent it. As representative of the fear look at your own representative. What do you feel? Look at the ancestors around you. Maybe there will be a sensation of recognising one of them. Notice if there is any movement coming, and follow it. Use simple sentences to acknowledge what is: 'I see you', 'I give you place', 'Thank you'.
Step out, and add a representative for the root of the fear, where it really belongs. It could be an event, a person, or a part of you, like your inner child. Notice what changes when this representative is added. Stand in to represent it. Notice what comes up. Use sentences and movement.
Still representing that root of fear, step to join the circle of ancestors. Stand among them, imagining their embrace, their wisdom and insights. Leave the representative there and come back to stand as yourself.
See what changes for you when you look at the fear now. Again use sentences and movement if you are drawn to. Step in and out of the circle of ancestors.
When you feel it is enough, close the ritual, thanking ancestors and yourself for doing the work. Rest.
If you have any questions please let me know and if you'd like to share your insights from this ritual I'd be happy to hear them.
It being my birthday week, I would like to share with you one of the rituals that I offer to celebrate a birthday - a personal beginning of the new year. It is a combination of an ancestral and timeline rituals.
To begin you do your usual preparation of space and tuning in; then set up a timeline from now until the end of you personal year, with various stages and phases you anticipate on the way, including seasons, holidays, deadlines, wishes, plans etc.
Standing in the beginning of the year, first call in your loving and compassionate ancestors, representing them in a circle around you (using stones, crystals, pebbles, or any other small objects), use your gut feeling to know how many to set up. Standing in the middle of this circle of your ancestors, imagine them all being there, arriving to your birthday celebration, greet them and introduce yourself, telling them that it is your birthday and asking, if possible, to bless you with their gifts, power and wisdom for the year ahead. Tune in, feel into it, and receive their blessings, breathing them in deeply, finding a place for them in your body and in your field. Maybe there will be messages, maybe energy, maybe just a feeling of being held safely - accept and receive with gratitude all that is coming your way.
When it feels complete, with all these gifts, begin walking down the timeline. Stay tuned to what your body feels, where there are moments of strength, and where it feels a bit weaker. Use the gifts you just received to walk the timeline. Call in and represent other resources you might need on the way through the year. You are aiming for a strong supported heart-opening feeling all along the timeline.
When you reach the end, look back with gratitude for everything this year is holding for you, including the unknown, the mystery and the unexpected that you are not seeing yet. Everything has a place and is welcome as long as you are well resourced and supported. When the journey is complete, close the ritual, release representatives and enjoy the rest of your day.
Everything that we don't attend to for ourselves in this life is going to move into the future, to the next generation to deal with. We see it on a global scale, but also on a very personal scale, the beliefs that you hold that are limiting you will be the beliefs that will limit the next generation and they will have to do a lot of work to release them. Everything that you can release for yourself now will mean less work for the future people.
So how do we do this? First, becoming aware of the family tree dynamics, of the people who stand behind you. The seven generations. Often we don't have enough information about all seven. But at least two or three we definitely know something about in most cases. If you know nothing about them, then think of what you know about the place they come from, the time in history where they come from, what would have been happening in their lives.
The next step you can do is trace patterns. Look at facts. How many marriages, how many children, reasons for death, illnesses, and ask questions about it, imagining the story, become curious about why things were happening this way and not that way. And then look at what patterns resonate with your own life.
One of the common patterns, in many families and many countries is the ‘missing men’, for example. When men in the family ‘leave’ early in whatever way available to them. I worked with some women where for many generations, only women survived, and the men either died as children or very early in marriage. Another pattern could be ‘unavailable mothers’, when even if present physically on some level the mother’s heart is closed to her child. This is often a multi generational pattern too. Also it could be that you notice that at a certain age children of every generation go through a particular experience - like moving a country.
These patterns will continue to journey from generation to generation and they are triggered by some unacknowledged trauma in the past. When you see the pattern, find its root and resolve it in some way on that level, you release it from the family system, healing both the future and the past generations, but especially creating more freedom for your own life to be more fulfilled, meaningful and wholehearted. Family constellations could be of great help in finding the roots of the patterns and offering a way to resolve the entanglement. Through ritual you could also access the places where trauma is held in the family system and invite resources to support it and heal it. If you'd like to know more about this and dive into this beautiful work please let me know, I'd be honoured to guide you.
I will ask you to do something for me. Close your eyes and imagine your family tree behind you. Your father behind your right shoulder. Your mother behind your left shoulder. Their parents behind them and their grandparents behind their parents. Keep going. Imagine the three generations, five generations, seven generations behind you. How does it feel? Now imagine that you can turn around and look at them. And it's okay if you don't know their faces. Just imagine. There are about 127 of your direct ancestors that you're looking at now, stretching across 140 years. Look at all these life stories. And imagine that all of these life stories still resonate in your own life today. In various traditions around the world including Christianity, and Native American traditions, there is a belief that one's actions impact the next seven generations. And we can see it both globally and on a personal level. What was happening 140 years ago, still has its impact into how we are now. The industrial revolution, scientific growth, psychology, our understanding of humans. All of this is still unfolding. The great migration that happened in the last 140 years, created this world that we're in now, people changing countries, creating families, going into war, creating more families. All of this means that you can be here today. Now imagine turning back to face your own life. And the next generation coming after you. Whether your own children or the children of your siblings, your relatives, the generation that comes after. And then their children. And then, the children of their children. And then the fourth generation and the fifth and the sixth generation of the descendants and the seventh generation. This is how far your current life is going to ripple out to. All these future generations will turn back to look at you as their ancestor. What kind of ancestor are you going to become?
A beautiful meditation to connect with your family tree, tap into the medicine of your lineage that you cary inside and see it flowing forward to your future generations.
It all started with two books and two conversations. Nine years ago I read a book, which was an autobiography of a person I knew. In it he described, among other things, the connection between his childhood and adulthood; especially his relationship with his mother and the three failed engagement proposals. He then described how in his seventies he came across family healing work and did a lot of forgiveness around his childhood, having cathartic release of the years of pain and hatred. When I spoke to him about his life journey, he suggested I read another book - Healing the Family Tree. I found the book and it blew my mind. The author described various cases of healing family entanglements and through that curing physical and mental symptoms in people with whom he worked. I also happened to know the daughter of the author, and when we had a chance to meet some time later I asked her many questions about her father’s work. She was the one who introduced me to the art of genogram. As we sat at a small table outside on a terrace with a beautiful scenery in front of us, she drew my family tree on a piece of paper, asking me questions about each member. I only knew it as far as my grandparents. The only thing I knew about my grandfather’s childhood was that he lost four siblings and his father in a very short period of time, like a month, and then his family had to relocate very quickly. My friend then asked me to imagine how it would have been for the family to go through something like this. Did they have time to mourn their dead? To make sense of it, to heal. Did they have a proper ceremony? What were the surviving children and the mother left with? And in what way I could be impacted by it in my own life. I have never thought of any of it before. And when I imagined it, I felt so much pain and grief and sorrow. She suggested I look for ways to release it - an ancestral healing process. So I started my research, and after trying out many different ways, finally came across family constellations and then systemic ritual and shamanic work. My call was very clear and loud. It needed action. Now I know that everything we heal for ourselves, we heal for the whole ancestral field. The ripples of our personal work flow both directions - backwards and forwards, also clearing the path for the future generations.
As I was writing about my grandfather's family, I got drawn to create a little ritual for that part of the line. In the image above, I set up my mother's line and first just spent some time meditating and singing with them, remembering some of the faces I know and imagining some of the life stories - connecting with their place in my life. When you work with your family tree, begin with just several ancestors, so that you could spend some good quality time with your lineage. Then I opened an invitation for the beings of nature and ancient ancestors who are willing and able to support those in the line who need some holding, to step in. I represented them with stones. And again, I spent time chanting and praying with them, holding the space. It is important that I didn't have an intention of fixing anyone's life, systemically it is not my place as child to rescue those who came before me. Rather I wanted to create an opportunity for support and resourcing with the help of nature and those who came way before these more recent ancestors. See what comes up for you as you sit with your lineage. As they feel more supported, the healing will flow down the generations in the sacred timeless space of your ancestral field. If you have any questions about this ritual, I am only an email away.
In this ritual you choose a situation, question, issue and put in the middle of the Wheel. Your intention is to get insights and healing for it. Use your Four Directions Cards or stones (or any little objects) to represent the Directions:
East - First Quarter
South - Full Moon
West - Last Quarter
North - New Moon
Walk the Wheel, representing the Moon in each direction, look at the issue in the middle through Her eyes. Very important to stay with your body and intuition rather than your head. If you start doubting what you feel, focus on your feet, and then on your heart and only body sensations, breathe. Notice what you feel in each direction, notice what you feel as you look at the issue, what images come, what words come. We all have different ways to receive information, tune in to yours. Maybe you will get an insight or healing, or maybe an instruction for what needs doing.
For example, if in the middle you set up a relationship with your partner (not your partner but a relationship itself); then what may come through the eyes of the First Quarter Moon is the movement to keep showing up, put in the work, build it step by step; Full Moon may offer the peak experiences of the relationship - passion, sexuality, and also drama and clashing, seek the wisdom of that Moon as to what may bring balance to this phase; the Last Quarter Moon may bring up sadness, grieving, the dying of the previous aspects of self as the relationship unfolds and as you grow with it - something is always ending so that new can begin. This Moon will teach you to let go in a good way. And the New Moon, in the North, might open up new possibilities of the relationship, a Spring like energy with its newborn buds of potential: learning about each other and about yourself in the eyes of the other, doing new things together etc. The ritual doesn't mean that the relationship will be scheduled according to the moon cycle, but it might be a useful guide to what could be added at any point in the month, or explain where you are. Experiment with any question that is on your heart right now and see what shows up. What does the Moon teach you?
In the last year I have been doing a lot of mindset and spiritual work around money, and it is fascinating how big a trigger it could be. When I did this ritual for myself, I realised I felt ashamed about the ancestors who didn't have money, and I did not want to repeat their story, but by separating myself from it, secretly I was standing with them, supporting their fate. For me a big relief came when I set up resources for my ancestors beginning to see their beauty and dignity. I could say to my ancestors - I see you and I honour your fate, even if I choose differently, you will always be my ancestors, thank you for my life.
Use stones or other small objects to represent you and money (if you have the Wheel of Four Directions Cards use them to represent and get additional info). Set them up and explore what it feels like to stand in your place and to stand in money place. Notice how your body is doing, experiment with distance, direction, simple sentences to name what is. Notice what thoughts come up about money, if there is any resistance around it. Stay curious. Then add several stones to represent Those Ancestors Who Had Poor Relationship with Money (for whatever reason). Again standing in the place of you and money explore the difference. If needed, add more stones to represent resources for the ancestors, for you, for money. Then add several stones for Those Ancestors Who Had Good Relationship with Money. Continue to explore what difference they bring to you and money. Use simple sentences to acknowledge your ancestors, to stand with them, to ask them to teach you and guide you. In the end I also added a representative for what is possible with money - the impact of the work I do. Make sure in the ritual to put on hold interpretations, judgements, projections you might have about yourself, money or ancestors. Stay very much with your body sensations and feelings, noticing slight shifts with every movement. When you feel it is enough, close the ritual and release representatives. Email me if you have any questions, or if you'd like to share what comes up for you.
I had an incredible opportunity to support this year's International Systemic Constellations Conference organised in Australia and offered across all time zones. It used to be called an Intensive and it definitely felt like one, with more than 65 presenters in all parts of the world, several parallel tracks running from 1 am till midnight for 8 days. I could only be there for some of the sessions and here is a little summary of what I saw.
My first session (I served as host and tech support for all these sessions) was with Dr. Karl - Heinz Rauscher on symptom constellations and healing voices. A combination of systemic lens and shamanic healing in approaching physical symptoms and beyond. Fascinating work that he begins with diagnosing whether the issue comes from personal trauma, ancestral field, karmic past or present family. See the end of this email for a way to practice this for yourself. https://en.dr-rauscher.de/
Elena Veselago's first session was on grief through systemic lens - a realisation that we are connected by the field at all times to all people, beings and things in our life and when they disappear, that connection breaks and the energy that was being exchanged has no place to go so creates chaos and pain. Many communities have a way of holding grief that allows to 'seal' that broken connection and to redirect the energy to other parts of the field. Therapists also perform this role in some ways, especially in the modern societies where the old rituals are lost. In another workshop Elena shared her understanding of holding a container and reading the field, where you allow the field to touch you and inform you without needing to 'do' anything about it. Even just that, already initiates the healing movement and the Field presents to the therapist what needs to be seen, what needs to be returned to the client, and what the client can't see themselves.
A session with Shavasti offered a beautiful reminder of the power and art of healing sentences. Shavasti wrote a book (as John L. Payne) on the Language of the Soul, talking about the skill of entering the field with undefended heart to hold the unknown. The phrase to say out loud is 'I just don't know' and to sit with it, to notice how it feels in the body, and then say it again. And again. 'I just don't know'. https://shavasti.com/
Daan van Kampenhout led two workshops, his first online groups, working with setting up a ritual with supportive ancestors, those who have been with the same issue and know how to heal and integrate. A simple ritual was to set up 'somebody who supports me conditionally' (if I meet their criteria), 'somebody who supports me unconditionally' and 'me'. Looking and exploring the dynamic of all three and holding space for what needs to emerge. What imprints do we still carry within us about needing to deserve support and what it feels like to be supported unconditionally - is it possible to receive this support? Daan has also started a new online project of holding singing sessions, where he sings and chants his healing songs holding space for us to do our personal practice - meditate, rest, journey, heal. Beautiful experience every other Sunday and Thursday. https://daanvankampenhout.com/
Jane Peterson, whom I met for the first time and fell in love with her style and presence, offered a workshop on couples dynamics and 'telltale' movement - the importance of paying attention to what is not said between two people, body language and signs of whether the movement is 'towards' or 'away'. Setting up you and the other (partner, mother, daughter etc) and noticing where the movement is heading in this relationship. https://www.human-systems-institute.com/
Bertold Ulsamer did an inner constellation around the birth trauma for a client, recreating the process in such a way that it felt much more safe and supportive and agreeable for the newborn to agree to step into the world and let go of generational resistance. A skilful step by step process of being completely relaxed with the unknown. Bertold has many resources on udemy about various aspects of systemic work. https://www.ulsamer.com/startseite/
I wrote before about my experiences of what I call the 'dancing constellations' - Ancestral Connections work of Tanja Meyburgh and Sian Palmer. The grounding power of movement before dropping into the depth of meditation to meet ancestors and to connect with what they hold for me, dancing my way through the beautiful insights and blessings. For the first time in the meditation the ancestors didn't just show up and stood there, they were incredibly active as if they just dropped by and suddenly met all old relatives they haven't seen for ages. Saying hello across generations, time and space. A wonderful experience. https://realacademy.net/
With Susan Schlosser we talked about nature constellations and the appearance of the ancient ones in constellations - what do they have to say to what is happening in our lives? To experience this, set up 'you', 'your ancestors' and 'the ancient ones' and see what comes. You could also add your 'issue' to this, to look at it through the eyes of the ancient ones. https://truenatureconstellations.com/
As Dr. Karl - Heinz demonstrated, a little exercise to experiment with understanding where the dynamics/issue comes from could be to set the issue up in the middle, and around it in four corners set up four options - family of origin, personal trauma, current family, karmic past (if this is not part of your belief system, you could still experiment with it, or leave it out); set the intention to receive insight about the roots of the issue - one by one stand in each option feeling into body sensations. Before this, work with the body to understand your Yes and your No, see the video here, and use this knowledge in each position. If family of origin feels like a Yes, then pay attention to which side is more active - left or right, mother's or father's. You can do the test several times and you could do it blind too and compare results.
Considering this has been a first event of this kind and scale and that for many teachers this has been their first exposure to working online and on zoom, I think it was a great success. Of course there is room for growth in the area of accessibility and diversity, and I hope it will be taken on board for the next year. Now it is time to integrate all the learning and to take it into real life, personal practice, off line being and doing.
When we arrive to this world the whole universe shifts making space for us. The whole universe makes space for us. We change everything. Because we are all connected with everything and everyone. Our place is unique. When we arrive all our ancestors notice. The pressure and joy in the ancestral field gets a new pinnacle point - you.
Dear Ancestors, dear grandmothers and grandfathers, close and far, I call on you today. All those who have kind eyes for me, all those who have a smile for me, all those who have a heart for me, I call on you. Gather at the time of my birth, gather around my mother as she helped me to see the light of this world. Offer your support and blessings as I was crossing the threshold, leaving my old familiar world of warmth and abundance and entering this new strange world. Hold my head, hold my whole body, hold my soul in your loving arms to see me arrive well. And as you do this, I'll witness. From this place in the future, I'll look back to the time of my Birth and see all of you there holding me safely, offering me your blessings for a strong gentle kind and healthy new beginning. Supporting in grieving my first loss, and encouraging me to trust the next step of this journey of my life. Thank you dear grandmothers and grandfathers. Thank you for your presence and love. Thank you for my life.
I am fascinated by the Systemic Family Constellations work and everything shamanic. I study it, practice it, research it. Here, I am sharing what I learn and hope it can be of use to somebody interested in healing their families, communities and lives.
In 2019 I published some of my poetry inspired by systemic work in this journal. It is available as PDF, Kindle or printed at the link above.