In May to June of 2022, I spent 3 weeks in a residential we-space near Bantry, County Cork, Ireland (4 of us the first week, 7 the second, and 6 the third week)
This is the first section of something I hope to share with a number of people in the four main practice communities that I am active in, as it points to what might be possible in intentional spaces shared with people of capacity.
1-Some of What We Did
2-The Role of Intention – active and receptive – in orienting a group
3-Group Dynamics, Community Building, and Alchemical Principles
Diversity, Individuation, and Limitations
This file only deals with 1-Some of What We Did – exploring some of what showed up in the space.
Lindsay invited a number of people to a residential we-space in a beautiful location in southwestern Ireland for a week at a time over a four-week period. I am only describing the first three weeks, as I was not present for the fourth.
Of those who arrived during these first three weeks, 6 came for one week, 5 for two weeks, 1 (me) for three weeks, and Lindsay all four weeks. Each week had about a 50% turnover, so there was significant initial configuring and reconfiguring every Saturday and Sunday.
All of the participants knew each other through Stephen Busby’s work. (Guidance for Life on Earth, Awakening to Higher Frequencies of Love….)
Each particular week’s participants had met once or twice on Zoom ahead of time.
Once we gathered and settled in, the format was primarily peer-based, emergent. There was morning meditation, circles of sharing and checking in, exploring various topics and group dynamics that arose, constellations based on various themes (generally designed by the Seeker), and walks/explorations in Nature. We took turns cooking and cleaning up for meals.
B.A few of the novel/creative experiences:
There was a great deal of nurturance, inspiration, and resourcing for some of the participants.
This was a result of the level of interpersonal acceptance and the respect for differences, the way that people were able to presence their needs without being shamed, and also from some of the processes that we did.
Here are a few of the processes and experiences:
Early on, we began to explore some metaphors for emergent process, such as what seeds need to grow.
We looked at:
-Am I willing to share/claim ‘my thing’? Or do I tend to offer fertile fields for others to plant their own projects or soul into?
-How fertile/ready are the places that I am trying to plant/grow in?
After an hour or two of exploring this as metaphor, this constellation form emerged:.
The Seed (that which I want to grow/plant/take root)…. “my thing”
The Soil/Field that the Seed is planted in. How available, nurturing, and fertile is this.
The Support/Protection. The fence around the field. How are things inside held, and how are unwholesome influences kept out?
These were all done blinded, so none of the four of us knew who was whom until they were revealed.
Each person’s process was very different from the others in the group.
The second week, this expanded into “Design Your Own (Transformative/Nourishing) Process”.
A person would design something they feel drawn or called to, with the help of the group.
Then we would constellate it, or engage in some other process around that. It was very powerful each time.
Two or three times in constellations, a representative began to experience a significant positive energy stream – more than human – coming through them. In one, a woman presenced a huge power stream.
The energy felt archetypal, and it flowed into me in my representation, affecting my cells.
In another, two reps (including myself) put our hands on another rep, (who was paraplegic from a fractured spine in the constellation), and brought her back to health and ability to walk. One rep’s transmitted energy was warmer/kinder and more familiar; the other’s was more electrifying but seemed to be quite physically activating and healing.
We were very attracted to the lush plant life, waterfalls, rural environment, and mountain scenery.
Besides walks and time spent meeting outside, we spent some time mutually ‘tuning into’ nature. Different people experienced different frequencies and aspects; together we presenced quite a bit, and through each of us sharing some aspects of our experience with the group, we could connect more deeply.
At one point in time, considering ‘what to offer to the Earth’, and how we wanted to be in relation to nature and Earth, there was a sense of “What about not giving something to Earth, but about receiving something from Earth?” Not in a taking way, but like the way we receive a person when we listen to them deeply….
As I checked into “what does Earth want from me?”, what came was “Let me live in you”.
With this, came some opening and inviting of a presence into my mid abdominal area – as if there was a living presence in my body, that was resonant with Earth…. Adding another processing frequency – head, heart, belly, and now Earth – multiple energetic intelligences in this human frame.
[This all connects with what I call Metabiology – using biological metaphors for expanding body-consciousness, rather than mental/abstract metaphors from physics.
After all, energy moves quickly, but biology grows slowly. Both need to be honored and worked with.]
This felt connected to Gerhard Dorn’s work on the ‘three unions’ that Carl Jung often quoted. https://aras.org/concordance/content/threefold-coniunctio
First-There is the Mental Union, where the soul marries spirit and leaves the body. One aligns with an idea, a principle, and often overrides or ignores the body and its needs in order to stay focused on the goal. (if persistent, this can be considered ‘spiritual bypass’),
Second-The Union of the Mental Union with the Body, healing that split, creating a collaborative relationship.
Third- The Union of Body and Mind with the Soul of the World.
I remember how Dan Booth Cohen teaches that people are often connected with this world (First Dimension), and sometimes also with the Spiritual World (the Third Dimension), but often skipped over the Second Dimension- the Ancestral Realms. People would do spiritual practices, but still stay stuck or feel disconnected because of entanglements with the Family Soul….
[ Of course, Family Constellations is very effective in presencing and working with the Second Dimension, as well as others.]
In analogous way, perhaps some people ‘marry Spirit’ (Dorn’s First Union), and then ‘try to do collective work’/connect with the World’ (Dorn’s Third Union), but often omit their animal bodies and the natural world. Leaving this middle stage out creates a major disconnect and less effectiveness, just as not working on the ancestral level can hold people back from their capacities and freedom.
Awareness of this felt very important - it really opened something for me with respect to working with the collective.
Nature IS the body. The body needs to be included – the animal body, and the body’s rhythms and speeds for processing, rest, and nourishment – all need to be respected along with the ‘push, push’ drivenness of the mental realms and holding active conscious intentions…..
The next week, I had an experience where I felt how I had pushed Nature away from me, and longed to reconnect. I stood looking at a hill/small mountain, feeling myself rolling down the grass in my imagination, and then saying constellation sentences…
“I went away. I left you. I don’t remember why, but I left.
I was so lost…..
Please…. Please take me back….”
This had the feel of the Prodigal Son returning back to his parents’ house…..
I was quite teary…. I went through a fence into a farmer’s field, laid in the grass, and this process continued. I got in touch with fears of nature, bees, spiders, and more, and how afraid I was…… How I shut Nature out because of my fear of intrusion, of danger…..
A bit later, looking at the river on a bridge, a sense of “I belong to you. And, you belong to me”….
Lovely how the family constellation sentences apply so powerfully to this relationship as well…..
Besides the depth of those experiences, I also realized that, for me, I needed to feel my grief of separation FROM the Earth, before I could grieve for what is happening WITH/ON the Earth. Otherwise, I am too detached, as part of me is still protecting myself and separating myself.
I imagine that I am not the only person that this applies to, and it helps me with approaches to climate activism…. Adds another way to work with our relationship to nature…..
At some point during the first week, after we had done a few ‘Seed, Field, Protection’ constellations, I felt a great deal of pressure around my head.
We gathered for a constellation, and I spoke: “I don’t think that I should do a constellation right now”.
Lindsay said “Actually, I feel that I could represent that energy in your head area. Would that be ok?”
I consented, and a very interesting process unfolded.
What she was representing felt quite shy initially. It did not want to be looked at, and hid behind a wall with her back to us….
I do not remember what allowed her to shift – perhaps my saying something, or perhaps another representative came in for The Shield – some kind of protection, that ‘had my back’. [Or it might have been her moving to a different space that allowed the next move….]
She felt that she was ‘being birthed through the wall’ – right through the wall – not even through any opening in it, and not coming around it. (I still do not understand how that was possible, but that is what happened.)
At some point, ?before or after coming through the wall?, she described an array of antennae, like peacock feathers with ‘eyes’.
These eyes did not see – they sensed.
Waving antennae, sensing, like a headdress of feathers that a Native American chieftain would wear – a headdress of sensing ‘antennae’…..
She then approached me and placed it on my head, for me to wear. After this, she and Shield stepped back. “It is done, and it is right”…. words were said about being handed back what was rightfully mine, taking my rightful place…..
I kept looking for some form to connect it to, and Shield said “Just wear the *@! headdress!”
Interesting, this sense of being a sensing organism, sharing antennae, and holding this function.
It is not so much a ‘doing’, but more of a sensing and reporting/sharing. Others do their thing, and the headdress does its sensing – sensing the existence of various possibilities or life forms that want to come in…
This feels connected to my ‘Devotion to Something Not-Yet-Here”.
There seems to be a field that seeks reciprocity, a non-transactional relationship.
In other words, rather than us ‘trying to find the future’ or ‘trying to create the future’ – which is invoking from a mindset of separation - there may be a call-and-response between us and the incoming future – a relational dance of interaction and creation. The future calls to us, we call to it through prayer and devotional work, and we respond to each other.
Early in the second week, there had been a great deal of energy spent on worries, fears, “am I going to be taken care of?”, “do we have enough?” and other quite young concerns. One participant described how she had never seen so much energy spent on these matters. She felt that trauma was taking up so much space, that nothing else could get any attention. (see ‘counterintuitive move’ in a later paper).
She then tried to bring us back to something that the host was in touch with, something unclear, a ‘promise of a possibility’, something wanting to be brought into awareness, into form, in our group.
With large amounts of silence, a few words, and some reflections “… it is not about you; it is about ‘the baby’” , a profound energy showed up in the space.
It was not ‘diffuse’, like a diffuse warm or luminous energy. Rather, it had the sense of a being, perhaps a very young or embryonic being, that was being ‘brought into form’ or allowed to come in because of the invitation and attunement.
For me, there was a sense that it needed to be energetically ‘held’, and allowed to grow.
What struck me the most, was the strong sense of holiness that emanated from/around this embryonic membrane/being.
It did not quite have a body, but it did not not have one, either….. There was a sense of something like an amniotic sac, that was there because of our presence….
I have experienced sacred and holy moments before when alone, with one other, and in larger groups. What was different here, is that, in those, there is often a presence – “a palpable spirit”- that is suffused in the space, as if within the air itself around and through us.
In this case, it felt as if the holiness was coming into a more biological form – as if it had a discreteness to it - a ‘body’ of some sort, not just ‘in the space’…..
As it turns out, this was the evening of Pentecost – when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.
It was also during the celebration of Shavuot, when the Torah was given to the Israelites from Mt Sinai.
This experience was the most precious for me of the entire three weeks.
It felt as if the Something-not-yet-here was able to show up/embody/materialize a bit, and let its presence be felt by several of us.
For me, it was a sense of the holy that might be similar to what is described in the Nativity scenes – a Light coming into the world.
I remember a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh “The next Buddha, will be the Sangha”
As lovely and as inspiring as this was, it did not return nor was able to be accessed in such a way again the next 13 days that I was there.
This was unfortunate, and there are several possible reasons for this.
More on this in later installments…
Halina had the idea of constellating the opposite of a resource-rich field.
What is possible to happen when resources are removed, that was not possible to happen otherwise? Interesting question to explore…
What if we have a field of not-enoughness, which can build resilience, innovation, and inner strength when one has to function alone?
After she mentioned this, we had a spontaneous constellation that – in retrospect- WAS a resource-poor constellation. We did not realize that until after. It felt incredibly under-resourced and rather miserable.
It was quite an unusual experience, and reminded me of the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Not pleasant, but perhaps quite useful from time to time in building internal capacities.
During the second week, as an experiment in “Design Your Own Transformative Container”, the group did a blind constellation for me, starting with two elements in my field that I chose:
The Vortex – a transformative portal/field that I have felt drawn to say ‘yes’ to for years, and have also been terrified to step into or unable to find at different times in my life.
Others who were present in the circle came into the constellation later as they felt moved.
As I watched the first two reps (none of us knew who was whom, as the constellation was blinded to all of us) interact, share, and reconfigure, I felt trembling and a great deal of energies moving through my body. One rep felt small, much shame, and wanted to bow down quite low. She then made other movements with significant humility and smallness.
I assumed that this rep was myself, and the other the Vortex….
At some point in time, after they unblinded, I realized that it was not Me, but The Vortex that felt small and was bowing down low.
What came to me was a sense that the vortex/portal has to do with Vulnerability.
This was not a glorious nor a ‘sexy’ portal, but it seems to be my way into my future destiny.
This was very resonant with a Resource-Rich constellation that Beth did the same week during a gathering in the USA, where the Cloud was “What is wanting to manifest” (a positive creation, rather than a trauma).
The Cloud would not enter into the resource-rich field, until a representative for Vulnerability showed up. The incoming potential needed Vulnerability to feel safe, and to have a way into the space, in order to manifest.
As Beth reported “Vulnerability -- vibrating. Cloud could go to her. "this is only place in the system there's life. Feels gentle and safe.'”
If what is needed is more Holding energy than Inquiring Into energy, then this makes sense – more of an open, available, tender space than a strong powerful one that allows certain kinds of New to come in and be born……
During a triad inquiry during the third week, we were invited to consider something in the world that we find distressing. Then, in the presence of the others, to allow the energetic movements in us that happen, perhaps getting to the essence of the distress, the energy underneath it.
The first to share presenced a feeling of being cut off, like someone cutting a tree. Disconnection.
The second stayed with a frantic feeling of back and forth, trying to make something work…..
During my turn, I started off with the sense of something driving onward, rolling, like a huge boulder that is out of control, crushing humanity and life on Earth.
Climate change, consumption of resources, political craziness, gun violence, militarism and more – it seems to be driven and unable to stop itself.
It felt too big to try to stop it or even to turn it a bit sideways to another course.
I could feel the out-of-control steamrolling energies, a sense that ‘this is how many of us in the world feel now’.
I spent some time sensing into how to relate to this drivenness, lightly trying a few usual relational engagements. Probing into it, trying to sense its essence, the core of the drivenness – for some reason, that did not feel quite right. A bit too active/yang.
Holding it, allowing it to resonate in my body and energetically unfold – that felt too receptive and too much… Too yin.
I remember “not ‘communism’ (all the same, collective over the individual initiative), not ‘capitalism’ (each for themselves, the individual over the collective), but something else.”
As I sat with all of that, open to something coming in that felt right, somehow an image came in of an inverted V, like an A-frame roof on a house.
As if the V formed some kind of holding/containing over the boulder, so it could spin, but would not keep rolling.
And, then a sense that, as it was lightly held within this upside down V structure, there were ways to plug into the boulder from the sides, plug into the energy of it, so that it can support creative movements on Earth, rather than be so destructive and separate, pushing against or overtaking other energies. When it is plugged into some larger ‘grid’, the energy is shared in all directions, not just forward and driven. And, then it contributes, rather than destroys….
I stayed with this for a while, and the others with me shared what came for them…..
The words “Something has been misplaced”.
And, that the ‘right place’ for this boulder energy was ‘plugged into the system’.
In this way, it was still a wild force, but it was not running amok.
Someone said “It felt like an ancient promise that was remembered/restored”.
This image felt creative and hopeful, and I hope to explore it more in the future.
This struck me as a relational design experience – by engaging in an open way, and allowing a different kind of body consciousness (feels very shamanic in some ways – entering into huge energies with some intention and some agency while respectful of forces much larger than the human frame), something new can come – creative ways of working with evolutionary challenges of our time….
Expanding our ‘energetic bodies’ feels like a big part of it.
This entire process felt like a combination of ‘bioengineering’ and Aikido. Aikido-like in the blending and working with energies rather than being in opposition to them.
Body intelligence and intention working together, in relationship with larger forces, and some ‘hybrid design’ of a different kind of plugging in for the huge energy that is presently rolling out of control.
[I have had a few of these experiences spontaneously, and am open to cultivating more of them, as well as encouraging others as well. Not sure of how to allow this. For now, knowing that these kinds of things are possible feels exciting, and is an area that I feel very drawn to spend time with.]