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.
Welcome to our blog, which explores what people are doing with Family and Systemic Constellations here, there and everywhere throughout North America.