Honoring the ancestors of Virginia and North America, as we prepare for Constellations Conference in October in Virginia Beach
Weyanoke Association's Coming Together Festival, above. Below at right, Little Beaver Winston, at Weyanoke Association's Coming Together Festival Photos courtesy of the Weyanoke Association..
By Melody Allen, MA, PMA, LPC-S
Rani George and Chuck Cogliandro are the "holders of sacred space” for this year's North American Systemic Constellations Conference Oct. 5-8 in Virginia Beach, Va. This station involves energetically meditating and praying over the well being of the conference along with planning rituals for the opening and closing ceremonies.
They have also headed an initiative to get the Native Americans of Virginia involved in the conference. At the steering team's request and through Rani and Chuck's meditative vision, we saw the need to honor the ancestors of Virginia and North America as a whole.
This impulse was in alignment with the emphasis of Family and Systemic Constellations on ancestral reverence. Bert Hellinger believed, and systemic constellation work agrees, that family history is a great place to start when trying to find answers to present family dynamics.
Systemic Constellations also speaks to acknowledging the excluded people and stories in our personal histories and we must be in integrity and expect the same of our nation.
By Betsy Hostetler, Ph.D.
Melody Allen, my colleague and friend, flew from Houston to Washington, D.C., to get together and visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Even though the museum had been open for more than six months, it was still difficult to get tickets; people snapped them up the minute they were released.
But Melody, who is the co-director of the North American Systemic Constellations Conference with me, was able to get tickets for us, and we were both thrilled. The team from the Smithsonian, which oversees this national museum and others, said that visitors spend an average of an hour and a half in most museums, but in this one they stay up to six hours.
We arrived there early and found a long line had already formed. We could see that there’s both a hunger to see what’s inside, and a readiness to be in touch with what it holds.
Nature is essentially “self-accepting.” When the lion eats the gazelle, when the tree falls during a storm, and when the sea batters the cliff, no one goes to therapy. Constellations done in this context share in this way of being in the world, and has its effect on participants. They leave with the pleasant sense that they can be with what is.
By Leslie Nipps, M.Div.
Nature Constellations are now a firmly established way of doing constellations that manifests in a wide variety of formats and contexts.
Sneh Victoria Schnabel and Francesca Mason Boring first developed Nature Constellations based on the classic Family Constellations format, and many have followed their lead.
Later, Francesca edited an anthology of Nature Constellations-related essays in her book Returning to Membership in Earth Community. I was first impressed by the possibilities of Nature Constellations when I attended a horse constellation weekend at Silver Horse Retreat with Sara Fancy in 2015, who has a chapter in Francesca’s book.
For the last two years, I have led Nature Constellations workshops during California’s dry season. We hold them at a private picnic area in Berkeley’s Tilden Park, which is set aside from our intense urban environment.
We do classic long-form constellations sessions, as well as many other formats, including Michael Reddy’s Altar Constellations; William Mannle’s Heart Constellations; and the Spirit Animal Constellations of Michelle McKinney.
By Samvedam Randles, LMHC, Dipl. Psych.
Our bodies are wise, and they are also deeply connected to our soul as well as the field that we move in and through. When we receive sudden or unwelcome messages from our bodies in the form of illnesses or accidents, we usually react with shock and annoyance. Most of us just want to get rid of painful symptoms as quickly as possible.
But these events tend to come with teachings and purpose. Family and Systemic Constellations are a great tool to understand the learning that might be brought through physical symptoms.
Here is a recent example of listening to physical symptoms in Constellation Work.
Chloe, one of the senior students in our Constellation Learning Circle, suffered a fall on the ice in January and ended up with a concussion that left her quite incapacitated for some time. She had been a busy practitioner with a full private practice, and had to take a break from seeing people after her fall. She simply could not handle any stimulation.
By Melody Allen, MA, EAS-C, LPC-S
During winter break, I flew to Washington, D.C., to visit Betsy Hostetler for a weekend work meeting for conference preparation. Betsy and I are co-directors of the North American Systemic Constellations Conference, planned Oct. 5-8 in Virginia.
Our task has been to organize, invite, and appoint a team of volunteers to offer keynotes, featured presentations and panel discussions to the North American audience of systemic constellations, a methodology founded by Bert Hellinger from combined studies in Zulu tradition, transactional analysis and family systems theories. The philosophies are applied in all career disciplines for family and business problem solving.
In between our planning meetings, Betsy and I had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The museum is devoted to the documentation of African American life, history and culture. It was established to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans.
By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Registration for the 2017 North American Systemic Constellations Conference in Virginia Beach, Va., is now open.
We invite you to help get the word out about the conference -- and its special pre-conference -- so that as many people as possible can learn about this amazing method that we believe is so very needed in these times.
We've created an e-book of Marketing Tips that you can use for your practice or business and identified four ways that you can help to publicize the conference.
Here are four simple but very important ways that you can help:
Extend a personal invitation to friends, colleagues, students, clients, co-workers and trainees to attend the 2017 North American Systemic Constellations Conference Oct. 5-8 in Virginia Beach, Va. Make sure they know that this is an exceptional opportunity to become inspired by and connected to Family and Systemic Constellations in all of their amazing uses and innovations. There’s also a pre-conference on Oct. 5 with four internationally acclaimed presenters offering full-day and half-day workshops.
By Suzi Tucker
What is the difference between teachers and gods? Between students and supplicants?
Well, one difference is in the level of freedom that they have. The teacher-student relationship assumes the freedom to change. In other words, when the teacher shifts his or her way of teaching or even what is being explored, the student is free to follow or to withdraw. In this freedom, the student allows himself or herself to continue to receive from what has already been learned.
The learning experience is complete with respect to the relationship to the particular teacher, but the potential unfoldings over time are limitless. In this way, a decision to stay with a particular teacher is not actually a decision to stay, but rather it is a moment to choose anew.
And the teacher is free to build upon the original ideas — adding to, reexamining, reframing and continuing to value what has been even as he or she moves toward the new. When the insights and gathered knowledge of the past can be integrated, rather than dismissed or rejected, the backbone of the future is strengthened.
By Suzi Tucker
So, there are lots of great teachers and courses in Family and Systemic Constellations being offered in the United States. Bert Hellinger’s early view of “let many flowers bloom” certainly has come to be.
But what happens when a beautiful circle of learning closes?
Often, the inspired student becomes the deflated entrepreneur. Suddenly on their own, some former students find that they feel isolated in their home territories or insulated in their psychotherapy, Reiki, medical, or other practices. The circle is no longer there to land in every month or two, a place where being with one another offers a sense of relief, the learning and also the invitation to be who you are full on. The circle is no longer a reliable shape with a seat for every member, no question. The circle is now an abstraction, and though some may try to keep it going informally, the challenges often overtake the momentum.
In these courses, there are the teachers and the teaching, and there is something else: the formation of what I think of as “accidental communities.”
“If we reveal and facilitate these dynamics in a conscious manner, without being entangled by polarization, it’s possible to mitigate the drive to unconsciously reenact past traumas, individually, in families, and collectively in our society.”
By Harrison Snow
The U.S. election is over. We have a new president. And yet not since the American Civil War, from 1860 to 1865, and the Vietnam War, about a hundred years later, has the United States been so polarized. This polarization includes the constructs of race, as well as gender, class, country of origin, ethnicity and religion, to name a few.
However, although our public discourse is divisive, there seems to be an emerging readiness to explore social territory that has long been ignored or avoided.
The program committee for the 2017 North American Systemic Constellations Conference, scheduled Oct. 5-8 in Virginia Beach, Va., believes the conference agenda should reflect this readiness in addition to giving attention to presentations on Family and Systemic Constellations and their innovations.
Therefore, we will be giving space “to reveal and explore the hidden dynamics that underlie the pressing issues affecting us individually and collectively.”.
Welcome to our blog, which explores what people are doing with Family and Systemic Constellations here, there and everywhere throughout North America.