Issue 26, June 2015
Barbara Morgan - Editorial
Bert Hellinger - At last
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Diana Claire Douglas - In conversation with Jan Jacob Stam: Societal Issues: Self-constellating Constellations
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Sarah Peyton - Time and Trauma: The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Constellation Work
Dan Booth Cohen, PhD/Emily Blefeld Volden, LICSW - See with Your Heart, Live Your Purpose & Love Your Life:
Integrating Ancestral Consciousness & the Sacred Earth
Evelyn Brodie - Non-local Healing: The Science of Non-locality plus Parallels and Differences between Shamanic practices in the info-realm and Constellations in the Knowing Field.
Karen Carnabucci - Group Constellation: what might be needed to spread Systemic Constellation Work in North America?
Richard Pantlin - A Constellation with a traditional Zimbabwean healer
Francesca Mason Boring - Reflections on Immigration Constellations
THE HISTORY OF NATIONS, CULTURES & RELIGIONS
Michael Paul Gollmer - The Concentration Camp and Me
Jane Flood - Chasing the Tales: A Brief Account of six weeks spent on the East coast of Africa, in Zanzibar, listening to stories.
Olivia Fermi - Neutron Trail & Systemic Constellation Work: Connecting to Japan Healing
Max Dauskardt - Coming Home: A First Step into the World
of Family Constellations by Barbara Morgan
Anngwyn St. Just - Mexican Days of the Dead: At Paradigm’s Edge Vol. III of the Trauma and Human Condition Series.
REPORTS ON CONFERENCES & INTENSIVES
Max Dauskardt - Report by new Chairman of ISCA presented at
Kloster Bernried, Germany May 2015
Various Contributors - Report on Bernried Intensive, Germany
Ruud Knaapen - Moving into the Knowing Field with Horses
Issue 26, June 2015
Ikhabi refers to ‘fortune’ or ‘luck’ in the Luhya community that is based on certain cultural values. It conditions how people think and act. If a woman gets married to a man who already has a child born out of wedlock from a previous relationship, she is informed not to mistreat that child, because her fortune lies in how she treats him or her and this may determine the fate of the lives of the children she will have in their marriage.
Mistreatment can turn into misfortune, which may be passed on to the children in subsequent generations. This also influences how other people in the community relate with the woman. They cannot negatively influence her to mistreat the child, because they know that it can have devastating effects not only on that family but also on the community. Luhyas are connected and seemingly this practice encourages cohesion and ensures that even children born out of wedlock are taken care of and are part of the generations. Once part of you has been passed on to another, this cannot be broken, and if there is an attempt to do so, then people will feel the effects of it.
Child naming becomes so important in this regard. Names of prominent people or those that had some outstanding behaviour are given to particular children by great-aunts and uncles so that the ikhabi is upheld. A name has life in it and children will be raised as similar persons to those they have been named after. This promotes continuity and essentially doesn’t break a certain cycle. People continue what their predecessors started and bring to fulfilment what is expected from those who they have been named after. If those they are named after had long lives, good health, many children or wealth, then it is good fortune passed on.
If you scorn or laugh at those that are suffering, you may lose your ikhabi. And this may be passed on from generation to generation. The person or home that has been scorned or laughed at may convert it into a fortune and turn things around. One person told the story of people from a certain village who were poor, uneducated and would never be wealthy for life. One elderly woman from the scorned village beat her chest saying, “I will feed and support this homestead” repeatedly, seemingly calling on powers to resist the bad fortune and convert it into a positive one. Twenty years later, there were several university graduates, increased farmland and very healthy members in the homestead.
Moving into the Knowing Field with Horses
Horses and Helping
The art of Helping is, in essence, a loving way of not co-operating with a pattern. Patterns have the tendency to keep themselves alive, to repeat themselves and to recruit helpers who will collude with keeping the root cause of these patterns hidden, often because the root cause is too painful to look at or does not fit within the boundaries of the personal conscience.
According to the horse’s perception, something is ‘out of order’ or ‘excluded’. You could say that the client’s ‘inner herd’ is incomplete. In this exact moment the horses start to react instinctively to the system of the person and you can recognise this by the change in the horse’s behaviour as he tries to lower the pressure in the system by: disconnecting, becoming restless or behaving in a neurotic way.
“Wholeness allows itself to be partly seen in our human perception but cannot be divided by that same perception.” (Ruud Knaapen)
It is precisely this ability of horses to experience the world around us as a whole that is valuable for both client and facilitator. The horse responds to the client’s system as a whole, which offers space for a different kind of helping. As coaches working with horses, we tap into that instinctive power and work with that capacity of awareness; looking through the eyes of the horse helps us to be in service of the whole.
The World of the Horse
Horses have existed for 65 million years, that’s a fact. Our history as human beings is not even visible on the time-scale of the horse. When I was first told this by an ethologist, I realised immediately why I always feel such a deep relief when I look into the eye of a horse, an eye that has a monocular visual field of about 350 degrees and can detect the smallest movements from huge distances. This eye keeps the horse connected also to where the other members of the herd are. Horses need to belong and forming bonds ensures safety: their defence mechanisms become de-regulated when they cannot be part of a herd and they become hypervigilant. A horse scans its environment 50-100 times a minute to make sure it is still part of the group.
It is also interesting to know something about the structure of the herd: horses tend to organise themselves to avoid conflict. Conflicts would use up too much energy, which is better conserved in the service of safety, for flight not fight. This is the safer and wiser option. There is a vertical relationship and structure within the herd that serves the energy regulation of the group. Every horse knows its position in the herd, which develops over time. Mostly subtle domination expressed through movement regulates this order.
Most of the time the leading stallion initiates or facilitates this movement. There is a second force, which could be called ‘leadership’, that does not necessarily correlate with dominance. In most cases leadership is given to an older mare who intervenes in conflicts and most importantly, gives direction to the movement of the herd. Leadership is in service of the whole herd and is given, not taken.
Time & Trauma: The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Constellation Work
The amygdala channels electrical activity — brain activity moves through it in different places depending on what emotion it is that we’re experiencing. For example when we’re sad, the amygdala is activated in a different place than when we’re angry. If we’re sad and somebody asks us if we are angry, then the amygdala does not get a satisfactory sense of being resonated with. In that case, the attempt at resonance doesn’t calm us, because it’s offering the wrong emotional flavour of connection.
It’s like we have a colour palette of emotions, and it’s in those moments when the colour palette of the emotion that is being offered to us in some way matches with our own that we feel understood. It is especially when the colour palette is reflected in its complexity and wholeness, that we can reclaim brain territory from experiences of trauma. And again, as all of us in this room know, constellation work takes people into places of being deeply understood. So I wanted to just capture that little bit that we hadn’t yet spoken about.
The other piece that I wanted to make sure was really clear from our work yesterday was that we can run our world very handily and effectively and efficiently with our left hemisphere. And because the left side of our brain has no access to the body, it doesn’t know how to be in relationship with other humans. For this hemisphere, other people are functions and tools. If we look with the left hemisphere, we will see Lutz as our conference organiser1 rather than seeing Lutz as a person with a soul and a heart.
But when we begin to open the door to the right hemisphere, we start to step into relationship in a much more profound way. We start to be touched and affected by one another’s humanness, by one another’s, if you like the word, soul. For the right hemisphere’s interconnected mass of junglelike neurons, another person is infinite, and we ourselves are also infinite, instead of being limited, objectified or pigeonholed in any way.
So, we can also run our life from this right hemisphere. And what is particularly important, when we are running lives, is for the pre-frontal cortex to be on board. Because when we have two people in conflict, we have two amygdalae trying to figure out how to get along, which doesn’t work very well. But once we get pre-frontal cortexes on board, we have an entirely different experience.