I loved this book. It resonated somewhere deep inside, and on my second time of reading, even more native, ancestral and family constellation wisdom took root.

I particularly liked the author’s sentiment about the dead who ‘must understand they are dead’ and the living, who ‘must stand fully in life’ and found the following descriptions useful. ‘Constellations are a tool to reveal what is obvious.’ The only approach that works is ‘radical phenomenology’ – everything that happens can be experienced as part of the constellation and when utilising a ‘phenomenological approach, in ritual and ceremony, the ancestors are present.’

However, my question was. Is it possible to achieve a ‘movement of soul’, a term defined by Bert Hellinger one of the pioneers of family constellations work, when genealogical research suggested ‘no single entanglement with one situation but a huge vortex of situations’ affected the family constellation. Luckily, Francesca Mason Boring says the goal of trauma work ‘is not to erase or cure but rather to expand and include and grow larger than whatever has happened to us.’

She gives us guidance on the ‘how to’ of family constellation work. There is the elder who looks at the landscape to identify specific rocks that can provide important information and represent key family members – the father or the mother or the ancestors perhaps. Having done this a conversation takes place to explore the dynamic. This reminded me of being told of a therapist using small stones to achieve a similar outcome and of my personal work with a herd of equines who stepped into the constellation and took on representative places.

Constellation work can highlight the systemic factor contribution in say pain and support an individual by ‘experiencing a place in the family’. In more traditional ways of working the representative places each important family member in spatial relationship and then, observes their actions and words and those of the facilitator. There can be ‘more than one protocol for addressing a perpetrator in a family system’ and ‘someone comes to stand in that victim space’. Or the facilitator may well ask, ‘who is still excluded?

The ancestors play an important part. In native traditions they ‘can be understood as existing in parallel to us. They are dead, but they are not gone.’ They are ‘invited into the circle and contribute as healers.’ Constellation participants may have knowledge gaps (maybe an inability to name their own ancestors) which can indicate a disruption or shaming. Or carry barriers in life ‘as a result of historical or transgenerational trauma’.

This author tells us about a ‘a place of quiet where the soul works’ along with a ‘family soul’ or a ‘universal organism’ that has ‘transmitted and carried life for generations’, a ‘walk’ as a way of life or the journey of learning, and the ‘knowing field’ where an organic healing movement comes from ‘beyond the cognitive mind.’ Some facilitators experience a deep exhaustion working in the ‘knowing field’ and for participants ‘true growth, deep movement rarely comes without some pain’.

She recognises people in ‘the circle’ are both healers and have been called by the ancestors. When talking about perpetrators attempts to make amends she says. ‘Perhaps in limiting their own opportunities, perhaps in having difficulty expressing joy, perhaps through illness, one attempts to bring back a balance, to rectify the wrongs that were done to another in good conscience under the family name’.

In answer to my own question. I believe, I did achieve that ‘movement of soul’ with the help of this book and my own bottom-up constellation work with the horses. I know this because elements of the natural world showed up ‘synchronistically in the working space before, during and after’ my year long series of equine constellations, ‘regardless of whether or not they have been given a specific role’. I call this shift in nature, my nature, magic.

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