SystemIC Constellation: A Shamanic Perspective
Systemic Constellation involves working with intention for healing with energetic systems. Family Systemic Constellation focuses on the energetic dynamics of family relationships, with the intention (as I learned from my teacher, Francesca Mason Boring) of increasing the flow of love in a family. Organizational, Business, and Nature Systemic Constellation have all evolved from the original work with family systems, and focus on facilitating healthy relationships in the systems as their names suggest.
In my experience, the practice and experience of Systemic Constellation varies enormously, depending largely on the orientation and intention of the facilitator. Whether the facilitator utilizes a rigid constructivist approach or an open phenomenological approach, however, I have observed that the Knowing Field (first coined by Dr. Albrecht Mahr) offers opportunities for healing that I have previously associated only with traditional shamanic healing practices. These include experiences of psychopomping, soul retrieval, extraction, uncording, curse unraveling, and compassionate depossession, or spirit release. When we open sacred space with the intention of healing, and open our awareness to engagement with the energetic fields that intimately and profoundly influence our lives, we access many possibilities.
In my experience, for example, it appears that when we invite the presence of a deceased ancestor’s energetic field by placing a representative for that ancestor, we may experience connection with the emotions, physicality, and thoughts of that ancestor, as they were in life – a sort of holographic energetic memory. This connection may enable us to facilitate reconciliation that frees descendants from carrying burdens that have been transmitted from generation to generation. I have also observed that it is possible, if the soul of the ancestor Is not at rest, that the Field may offer the opportunity for us to connect with the actual soul of the ancestor, and to assist that individual in moving into a place of peace. In shamanic terms, when we help a soul who is not at rest move into a place of unconditional love and peace, we call it “psychopomping.” I am not sure that all facilitators recognize that sometimes the representative for an ancestor is “standing in” for more than a sort of holographic memory of that individual: the representative may be holding space for the actual soul (or soul fragment) of the ancestor. In shamanic circles, we may say that the representative is “channeling” the soul. I was fortunate to have trained with Francesca Mason Boring, who demonstrates awareness of the need to provide time, space, and assistance (by inviting “support” for these ancestors into the Constellation) in order to allow a soul still attached to the plane of human experience to move into a place of unconditional love and peace – to move into a place where they belong.
In 2016 I participated in a weekend workshop with Stephan Hausner, and very much appreciated his repeated opinion that in Constellation we really don’t understand what we are doing. He suggests that he will keep doing it until he does understand. I agree that we do not understand all that happens during Constellation. It is, fundamentally, a Mystery. We do, however, strive to make sense of our experiences through the filters of our current knowledge and awareness. I think that it is essential that facilitators and participants realize that what happens in Constellation is not metaphor: it is an actual expression of non-ordinary reality and as such holds virtually infinite possibility. I think it is important that facilitators recognize the potential need to give time and attention to helping lost souls who show up in a Constellation to find safety and peace. I think that it is also wise to encourage participants to first connect with their own True Selves (ground in their own connection to wisdom and unconditional love), before offering to represent another. And, it is also important that representatives very consciously release all intention to represent, when the work is done, and re-attune to their own true natures.
We all interpret our experiences through our own filters and knowledge; and perhaps I see these things because I experience all things through a shamanic lens. Let’s take another example. Perhaps a client wishes a Constellation process because she wants to have a baby, and there is history of miscarriage in her family. She comes seeking resolution, so that she may carry a healthy baby to full term. If she were a client of a shamanic practitioner, she may say that she seeks “curse unraveling.” She thinks that there is a curse upon the family that results in miscarriage. With helping spirits, a shamanic practitioner would work to identify, describe, and unravel the curse by pulling all the life energy out of it and restoring the life energy to its proper place. In Constellation, much the same thing happens. The facilitator and group work to identify the inception of the problem, describe it, and unravel it by allowing movement through whatever dark emotions and issues present, through to a place of reconciliation, acceptance, and love.
I have also witnessed what I perceive to be “soul retrieval” in Constellation. Imagine a client who has been separated from a soul part, or spiritual essence, that holds the ability to manifest joy, because she has been carrying a burden of grief and guilt for her ancestors. When, through Constellation, that burden is identified, explored, and lifted, the way is suddenly clear for an essence of joy to be reunited with the client. You can see the client’s face and whole body light up when this kind of healing happens during a Constellation.
Systemic Constellation facilitators arrive at the work with different orientations. Some come with strong backgrounds in psychology, and focus on the psychological aspects accessible in Constellation. They may pay attention to the cognitive and emotional elements that arise, and direct their efforts toward facilitating shifts in these areas. I do not have professional training in psychology: I am trained as a shamanic practitioner. My focus as a facilitator is on the manifestations of spirit that become evident when we engage with the intention of facilitating the flow of love and good health in Constellation.
In September 2016, I completed a year-long program of training for Systemic Constellation Facilitators offered by Francesca Mason Boring, a master facilitator, teacher and author who is recognized world-wide as a leader in Constellation. My practice is an integrated practice: I intend to work from that liminal place where the Field of Shamanism and the Field of Constellation meet.