Systemic Constellation is a phenomenological method of bringing
hidden dynamics of a system to light. It is used to work with the system as a whole rather than with individual parts of a system. Bert Hellinger, German psychotherapist and discoverer and developer of the work, calls these hidden dynamics "entanglements."
First applied to family systems, systemic constellation has expanded to be applied to other kinds of systems such as Businesses and Organizations, Nature Systems, groups, and other types of systems. It is a phenomenological method which helps us to see these hidden structures and dynamics in a clearer way.
Witnessing the actual dynamics, rather than what we think the dynamics are, is key. When we are able to witness what is there, the system transforms so that the Flows of Love can increase and anxiety and pressure can lessen and come into a new balance.
What a Constellation Looks LikeWe come together as a sacred circle to help each other and our ancestors. Systemic Constellation examines systemic dynamics, that is, issues arising in the system which affect the individual.
When a group member chooses to look at an issue which may have a systemic component, the facilitator looks and feels into the Knowing Field of the system to find a place to begin. The facilitator then asks the person to choose group members to represent family members who seem to be centrally connected to the issue in the system.
Representatives may be chosen for concepts, too. Concepts such as "Money", "Immmigration", or "The Land of my Ancestors" may be chosen to be represented. As each representative is placed, they begin to receive information from the Knowing Field of the system. Representatives often assume a familiar body posture of the person they represent, even when they have never met them. The language of systemic constellation is deeply visual, and it is why we call this work a 'constellation' in English.
The visual language of constellation provides information from the Knowing Field through the body postures and attitudes of the representatives. We get information from the Knowing Field by seeing who looks at whom, who doesn't look, at how close and how far away each representative is from the others.
The client, or person receiving a constellation, is usually asked to place each individual in the working space where it feels natural to them to do so. Sometimes the facilitator asks the representatives to 'find their own place.' After a period of silence the facilitator may invite the representatives to move according to 'the wisdom that is already in your bodies.' Representatives then usually move their bodies to align with the information that the Knowing Field of the system is presenting to them.
Through these movements, the Knowing Field shows us what is true in the system. Often this truth known by all at a deep level, but not seen. The constellation brings this truth into a clear space that can be seen by all.
The facilitator then begins to invite the Field to offer more information. S/he does this by 'nudging' the constellation with suggested movements, postures, or words. This process of receiving information from The Field is mysterious and takes time and patience for it to be known, seen, and felt. Elder constellation facilitators speak of this process a being a 'snapshot for the soul' and say that this new information seeps into us like tea infuses into hot water, gradually ripening over time. The facilitator guides the movements of the constellation according to the rate at which the client can absorb and integrate what he or she is witnessing. The facilitator chooses when to end the work.
My limited experience of the Field as a faciltator of systemic constellation is that the Knowing Field desires for us that we know these things, wanting us to bring more ease and flow of Love into the system by showing us the hidden dynamics in the system and allowing our spirits to move in a new way.
What a Constellation Feels LikeI can only speak of my own experiences of being a representative in dozens of systemic constellations. As I am placed as a representative in a constellation, I have a deep reverence for being invited to step into the living room of another person's life in order to be of service to their Ancestors, and to my own.
Often, I know I will be asked to be a representative before the client actually chooses me. This knowing appears in my body. When I am placed or when I 'find my place' in a constellation, The Knowing Field brings a knowing into my body. For me, this happens via body sensations. Sometimes I am focused on another representative. Often I don't know who or what this other person represents. The body sensations and/or feelings are generally strong. My teacher, Francesca, encourages representatives to 'follow the wisdom that is already in your body.' This is excellent advice.
Standing as a representative is, for me, a curious experience: there is always a 'me', and always a 'not-me' that is expressing. The 'not-me' is the information from the Field that is coming through my body. Being open to allowing this expression to flow through me with minimal editing is central to being a representative and essential to a successful constellation.
Sometimes my body turns away from a representative or a group of representatives. I may want to get closer or farther away. Sometimes I feel strong and rooted. At other times I feel weak, unable to stand. Sometimes as a representative, I have an urge to speak a particular phrase, often one that makes no sense to me, to the person who is Jeffrey.
As a representative, I may feel a sensation which belongs to the person I represent, rather than to me, personally. My body may adopt the habitual posture of that person or I may feel a pain in a portion of my body corresponding to an injury of the one I represent. I may tingle or feel warmth or cold. The facilitator may ask me, 'what is happening with this one?' and I report what is occurring in my body or I say words that are in my mind. Sometimes the facilitator encourages me to speak a deep truth from the System. These words are often called 'healing statements.'
The facilitator stands in a unique systemic place: s/he has a more complete view of the Field of the system than any other person connected with the constellation, client or representative. As a representative, I trust the facilitator to nudge my representative to move, do, or to say that which is necessary to allow the Field to speak its truth as deeply as possible.
How a Constellation Affects the SystemThe client may be the only person in the room from their family. Even so, they bring their whole family system with them. The Knowing Field of every system is holographic, meaning that the entire pattern is contained in even the tiniest piece of it. When we have a part of the Field, we have all of it. Through this holographic connection, the Field, the entire system, listens and participates.
The goal of constellation is not to change anything. It is to see and enter into acceptance of what is actually there rather than what we believe is there. Paradoxically, when we are able to witness the what-is, the system changes.
This is the big, mysterious power of Systemic Constellation.