Welcome to the new website from Barbara Morgan, Editor
Welcome to our new website! I hope you find it easier to navigate than the previous one and that you enjoy the extra facilities offered of being able to browse the archives, read the blog and join in any ensuing discussions.
This latest issue has more of interest to readers – in the new developments section come two articles related to the power of music as a direct route to the soul and how to bring that together with constellation work. I’ve often wondered how that could happen more, as it has always been a beautiful experience when it has happened spontaneously in a constellation – someone sings a lullaby or one personal experience I had where the representatives started singing a song about ‘sailing on the high seas’ which turned out to be so relevant to the work.
What’s your own experience of the inclusion of music: singing, humming, drumming or other in your constellation work? How relevant do you think it is?
Personal reflection pieces often contain controversial themes and these ones are no exception. Franz Ruppert and his followers are now working outside the constellations field and no longer calling their work ‘constellations’ but of course, in some way they are still connected, as many people have done and are continuing to do both his work and the traditional constellation work side by side or they find themselves in mixed groups, containing the two disciplines.
What’s your own view on this subject? What do you think about balancing individual and field phenomena? What about Stephan Hausner’s description of the way he now works, by keeping the client on the chair and using their embodied response as the most important aspect of the constellation? Or at the other end of the spectrum, Elena Veselago’s preference for freeflow in a constellation, allowing all who wish to enter to do so, even if they are representing a cat? What about animals and the part they play? Do you go along with this idea? In issue 29 we will have a further article by horse coach Ruud Knaapen on his experiences of working with horses in constellations, another increasing trend.
The other emerging trend is towards larger scale constellations. Diana Claire Douglas is very active in this respect and this issue contains her third interview on this subject. Sneh Victoria Schnabel will be familiar to many of you and she talks of the huge effect on Germany of the influx of a substantial number of immigrants. I heard on the radio recently someone who has set up a far right group (not sure if it is yet a political party), where the words being spoken had a distinctly ‘Nazi-like’ flavour to them. It triggered some fear in me. Anything that goes to one extreme will inevitably trigger the opposite extreme I guess. What are your views on what is happening in Europe and the way the refugee crisis is being handled? The previous issue covered various countries’ experiences with this. In the issue, we have a more collective approach with Sneh’s input on Germany, but also her experience of shifting from individual to collective work as a response to the group and the outcome of that. Diana Claire Douglas also went to a conference in Hungary where once again this issue was addressed with a large group constellation.
Here in England we have an upcoming referendum on whether we should leave the European Union or not. Is the wish of those who want to leave a harping back to the days of colonialism, an historic oppression by our country, which hasn’t even begun to be looked at to any great extent? I see this deeply ingrained attitude of ‘entitlement’ still being played out now through tourism, where we buy cheap land in a poor country, erect opulent hotels, villas etc. without consultation with any of the locals, move there but don’t try and mix in the community or even learn the local language and then wonder why there are social difficulties, with robbery and other crimes taking place. Of course, with so much poverty in their countries, who can blame the governments for welcoming such new ventures?
I saw this very clearly when I had a holiday in Portugal a few years ago and that’s not the only place it happens. I see Romania as a largely unspoilt, very beautiful landscape with currently cheap land available. How long will it be before the same thing happens there? This is one of the few places left in the world where bears and wolves still roam. Whatever you think about royalty, Prince Charles from our own royal family has bought a chunk of land in Romania with the sole purpose of preserving some of this wildness. What do you think about the effects of colonialism, with many of our European countries, not just Britain being perpetrators in this respect? What experiences have you had in working with this issue in constellations? Is it coming up very often or do we all have a collective blindness about it?
Anngwyn St. Just is a keen advocate for facing these large-scale societal issues. As an avid writer, and a regular contributor to the journal, she definitely stimulates a lot of thoughts and feelings in me about our possible over-emphasis on the individual in western culture at the expense of these larger, wider issues. A case in point is Romania, a country where I have worked for the last six years. This is clearly a deeply traumatised country for various historical reasons, not the least of which is the effects of the oppressive regime of Ceaucescu and his eventual execution. Even though I have worked there that long and seen many, many traumas addressed – with abortions being carried out over at least 2 generations on a massive scale (see Alemka’s reflections on this painful theme) – the issue of the orphanages has never, ever come up. I have asked the question a couple of times when we have had large group constellations on Romania or some aspect of that, but somehow it hasn’t come to the fore. What is that about? Is it such a shadow in the Romanian psyche that I as a regular visitor have got caught in the field of suppression of facts? Has everyone decided it is a history that’s best forgotten, that they have enough traumas to deal with without that on top? It would be good to hear from some Romanian people how they see this issue. And of course it just doesn’t exist in Romania. What about China and the oppression there? I heard a recent radio programme where people were interviewing children as young as 12 who were essentially bringing up their younger siblings full time, while the parents were hundreds of miles away working in the cities to finance their families. Where are the human rights activists in these regimes?
Leslie Nipps raises another contentious issue and one, which I also think about a lot. What is the balance between freedom and containment within the constellations field? If you are a facilitator or trainer, where do you see yourself sitting on the continuum? What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of both? And here’s a possible locus for this discussion, is there a difference in terms of gender on where we sit on that continuum? What are your own thoughts? I guess I would see myself closer to the ‘freedom’ end when facilitating, but I am seen as very ‘tight’ on such issues as time boundaries, as I believe that is the kind of container which is needed for the freedom to be able to flow safely.
In October this year, Max Dauskardt, as the new Chair of ISCA is organising an international conference where people from across the globe can gather to express their views on our ‘emerging future’. Max and I are building a working alliance with the same starting point of acting as a ‘gathering point’ or ‘nucleus’ for the widespread population of constellation facilitators and trainers. So you now have financial incentives to be part of both as you can see from both websites. I think the event in October promises to be an exciting next step and although I am unfortunately unable to attend myself, I will be there in spirit.
So these are my thoughts for this issue, but you may have your own to throw into the melting pot. This is your website, your journal. Please contribute your own views and if you feel passionate about something, those views may then turn into an article for the next issue, or even a book!
All views are welcome, with boundaries as far as respect for others is concerned, and no advertising please. That belongs in the journal itself and helps finance the process.