How is America's slave history calling to us to be healed?
Harvest for Collective/Social Healing Constellation Evening – Sept. 8, 2017 – Blue Moose Gallery, Ft. Collins, CO
While this scene looks peaceful, a lot is moving under the surface.
Just like in the constellation, the White Plantation Owners felt they were giving slaves a good life. Not how slaves felt. How might we today acknowledge and heal these wounds for a future potential where all are thriving?
Here in the USA in 2017 we are living with continual shock waves of crisis - politics, racial violence, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and the trauma – emotional, physical, and financial - that accompanies all of this.
A lot of shadow on the human side as we often blame and find fault with the ‘other’ to avoid looking at our part in the larger scheme of unfolding.
Where might we look historically to get a sense of the wounding leading to repeating patterns of disliking, distrusting, and even fearing the other? Especially as it relates to race?
Included here in this harvest:
Creating Sacred Scaffolding - holding and activating the 'field' of healing potential - including silence, a resourcing circle, a deeper check-in/presencing circle with the latter held in the guiding intention/question for the constellation.
Themes that came through the constellation -in this case we look at the post-Civil War period in the South. How was life then after 1865 for whites, and freed blacks, for the president (after Lincoln’s assassination) The defeat of the Confederacy, the Emancipation Proclamation and the freeing of slaves opened a whole new period in American history. What clues might we find there – for the racial tensions, and the instability in government and society that we see today? Are there any signs of hope for a more equitable and just future for all?
More detailed Transcript of the Constellation as it unfolded.
Sacred Closing of the space in collective presencing circle - harvesting from the field in the moment through all voices/participants.
Sacred Scaffolding Co-creation in Circle:
Resourcing as part of our check in Circle – making Sacred Space
To set a sacred space/container for our time, we entered into silence, and then checked in - naming and honoring the resources there for each of us and present in the space this evening – be they ancestors, friends, archetypes, inspirational people, teachers, animals – trusting what is showing up in the silence. Here is what emerged as each spoke.
The Land and our Continent, Mormon Ancestors, and those who have experienced disasters. The crystal as talking piece speaks of the land and the continent we live on. Remembering Mormon ancestors, who crossed the continent to Utah, enduring lots of tough stuff, and some dying on the way. And then those who have experienced extreme loss through disasters, all can support the field today.
Family lineage far back, and a Male Elk with big Antlers, also Past & Future lives. Felt the presence of family lineage going way back, and felt that support, knowing the desire for life leads us forward. The Elk I saw is big and strong and represents the natural world, its strength, and resiliency. I also felt the presence and support of past and future lives and ask that they come to help in Florida where my sister-in-law lives. Could feel the collective fear.
Crystal. This person felt in a swirl, couldn’t ground, felt the hurricane coming toward Florida, felt empathy for all evacuating – also the fires in California. And then DACA on top of all of that. She held the Crystal (large and heavy) and felt the solidity and groundedness it carries. That would be her support as she would hold it for a while.
My ‘work with purpose’, and spiritual teacher Melanie. I am making the 5th international recruitment video for the university. I feel the gift and strength of connecting and engaging with so many students and then the disappointment with the rescinding of DACA. I work in a job with purpose that makes good use of my talents. My spiritual teacher, Melanie, was at the beginning of my egg beginning to crack. All I learned in that period supports and leads me back to self.
2nd Circle – A little deeper check in
Given all the polarized tensions, almost crazy politics, racial tensions, and weather systems, as well as all the good happening right now, how are you feeling inside? Where might we see or feel the healing potential that is trying to happen?
I feel optimistic. I feel the turbulence but it feels transformative to me. I am moving my practice from the physical to the energetic. Underneath everything, I have a sense of our unity, of how we are all one web. Our healing affects the whole. It may not help in Texas, but has meaning and value. What we are experiencing now has to happen whether we like it or not.
Everything is exposed. It’s all so obvious and yet we don’t want to be there. My reactions can feed that. I try to stay separate and bring something else to it. I am now stepping into a management role in my work. I can’t hide from these patterns. They are right out in front of me. I see this at work and at homel things are more right in front of me.
I felt hopeful this last week. It seemed like Trump and his cronies could see things in a new light. Like he could see the foolishness in the polarization of the Democrats and Republicans. (Trump unexpectedly went with the dems to pass debt ceiling and aid for Harvey in Texas.) Maybe this unification is something good he can bring. (like something unexpectedly good happening that he is a catalyst for). I see good people speaking up. Often, I have not spoken up. More are now and I am too.
I feel hopeful. I am watching the dredge get pulled up and put in our faces. It’s a big opportunity to do something. Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes – all have symbolism as they disrupt and change the landscape (figuratively and physically). They transform what is there.
This dredging up and having to look into the shadows. It’s bringing an awareness of all that’s needed. Showing where to shine the light. In Texas, people are helping each other, people of all kinds just helping. I saw Latinos, likely some undocumented, form a human chain (in the water) to rescue a little old white man stuck in a truck.
I am experiencing and seeing stuff coming up on many levels – students, faculty, admin. – all trying to grapple with all that’s going on. Amazing ability of college undergrads to pick up on the subtleties and complexities of our historical underpinnings. I feel great hope as a new generation holding incredible awareness can see beyond old patterns, and speak up and lead in a new way. Being at a university, I also feel the concern and tension around what Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education) is doing regarding sexual assault and harassment on campus, to pull back those regulatory standards intended to protect females and hold male students more accountable. What might come of this so that all (male & female, all races, nationalities) are seen with compassionate understanding?
Silence - Bell
Intention/question for constellation
Where might we find clues in our past (America’s past) that point to the deep unacknowledged societal wounding rising to the surface now? Where does the light want to shine into some of those dark places? How might the current times be mirroring / reflecting our country’s past?
We take a look at the post-Civil War period in the South. How was life then after 1865 for whites, and freed blacks, for the president (after Lincoln’s assassination? The defeat of the Confederacy, the Emancipation Proclamation and the freeing of slaves opened a whole new period in American history. What clues might we find there – for the racial tensions, and the instability in government that we see today? Are there any signs of hope for a more equitable and just future for all?
-More silence, then we began. The actual constellation dialogue is included after the Harvesting Themes.
A slave family standing next to baskets of recently-picked cotton near Savannah, Georgia in the 1860s.
Harvesting Themes – Here are elements of what came forward in this time period immediately following the Civil war and the emancipation of the slaves. How do we see much of this still playing out today? Also, lots of insight in the Closing Circle conversation after the constellation details.
Whites in America – represented as Southern White Plantation Owner (WPO).
Felt pushed out, angry, a forced unwanted change, have to claim space.
Resentment of the people of the North, they are forcing this on southern whites
We are not understood, no one cares about us or our suffering, everything focused on them, black people.
Feelings of sadness, grief, loss, and anger. I want to strike back.
We are better than blacks. We took care of them. They are not as human as we are; they are like children.
Blacks in America – represented as Freed Black Slave man (FBS).
Feel stuck, angry, and sometimes hatred for whites.
Lack of trust that freedom is really there.
Freedom is huge, not sure how to occupy that. Feels unsupported.
I am a person, not property. A person with feelings, a name, interests, children.
Stepping onto the Future Potential was powerful for the FBS. When he stepped there and felt the power, it immediately weakened and made sick the representative for White Supremacy and also The White Plantation Owner.
There was a representative (blind) who felt she wanted to create a bridge, understanding between the WPO and FBS. So another potential for connection. Didn’t seem to be an opening until much later in the constellation when another element was introduced.
Role of Ancestors – as the constellation progressed, it was clear that both Black people and White people need the support and connection to their ancestors, something so often not acknowledged in the current culture. And for Blacks, the understanding of African heritage and roots, long ago memories severed. All immigrants – forced or willing to come here - often lose any knowledge of who came before and the homeland. Connecting with that – even simply, seems to be powerful. When needed, I simply placed a mat on the floor behind the representative and asked them to really feel the support of all who came before. It helped both WPO and FBS to meet challenges they were facing. The Freed Black Slave to step into his power. And the White Plantation Owner, toward the end of the constellation, to continue (felt sick) and to be more open to truly seeing the Black man.
Alliance/Connection – this was not represented but showed up in how the Black man felt somewhat welcomed by the People of the North and he felt even more connection and power when he stepped onto the Future Potential. There was also, of course, the power of his connection to his people, his ancestors.
The Southern White felt pushed back, disregarded, invisible by this connection to the People of the North.
The Southern White felt loss of power when the Black man became empowered by Future Potential.
The Southern White was also feeling a bit sick and sweaty as a result.
White Supremacy/KKK (WS) – (blind) in the beginning needed to stay not far behind the Freed Black Slave. Had to stay connected like a rubber band, couldn’t let him get too far away. When he moved forward, so did WS. When he began to feel his power with the Future Potential, White Supremacy felt weak, sick, rocky, and needed to sit on the floor. WS lost power when he gained a sense of power. (today my sense is, we see a revival of White Supremacy, its expression made OK to be expressed by President Trump. So it is showing up and then so are the counter forces. More polarization between blacks and whites)
Stalemate – I have often noticed that a constellation can become stuck, not able to move, and maybe no resolution. There was an element represented that was unclear (the bridge mentioned above). This was a blind representation. She felt like a mediator, a bridge between the White and Black. The WPO was not able to feel or want to bridge this divide.
Sharing Power - FBS, the Black man, was open to sharing power, there is room for everyone, he said, but he did not feel an openness of heart in the other.
(it was my intention that the mediator represent President Johnson, the one who succeeded Lincoln – to see if there were any political implications to pay attention to – maybe just the need for understanding and bridging and rebuilding after such a brutal war – like brothers on both sides of the North and South, with slaves caught in the middle.)
Future Potential - I have found that this element often is revealing. It is often blind as it was this time. It is interesting to watch who is attracted. Both WPO and FBS were, however, when WPO saw the power it gave FBS, WPO backed away. Still not ready.
Healing Element, Higher Purpose – Soul of America, value of humor
What could break the Stalemate? What might be a catalyst for a total shift in energy and focus?
I put a mat at the front of the group to represent the Soul of America , but did not say that. The one who was WS de-roled to come to stand on this mat(a small group that night). And to see what was there. She saw the human family in front of her. Including all. SofA was not sure all would come with her however.
PJ/Bridge felt hope. WPO softened and all of a sudden felt she could be in relationship with FBS. FBS could feel the distortions/veils dropping. FBS wanted to go very near to Soul of America and bring his people with him, as well as those of the North. There was a moment of seeming magic and the tension truly broke. WPO was moving there too. I revealed that it was the Soul of America – tears were welling in some. Amazed to feel the difference. The field had shifted and now possibility opened.
See more as the group processes in the closing circle - at end of this write-up.
A great group that evening. Big Thanks!!
Details of the Constellation (from a recording) – maybe you will see more. – in many cases as each representative speaks I have asked them what they are experiencing or how they feel about another representative in the constellation. What follows is most of the dialogue.
Started with 2 representatives – a White Plantation Owner (WPO) and a Freed Black Slave man (FBS), and asked them to find their places. WPO first.
WPO – “I want to be in the center. I feel like I am being pushed, so I am claiming my place, despite what just happened.” FBS – farther back and not close to WPO – “I feel stuck. Feels like there is an opening to move but I don’t trust it.” When asked about the WPO, he feels some anger.
WPO – “I feel anger as well. I didn’t want this change, it’s going to make it really difficult for me to run my plantation.”
FBS – “I feel hatred hearing that. I have the sense of a huge vast space I can go occupy and I don’t know how; I need some help, maybe. I feel really unsupported.”
I put a mat behind him as support and asked him to feel all those who came before him, who struggled, all the way back to Africa. Know that they are there. Feel their presence, I told him.
FBS – He felt the support. “It feels like I am stepping into something more powerful. I have some choice and control of the outcome.”
When asked if he felt like he could step forward at all, he said he felt he could; so he did.
FBS – “that feels better.”
WPO – “I feel like he brings up – everything was working. He had a place. My plantation was running. Everything was working, I didn’t ask for this change, and it was forced on me, and I am pissed.”
I asked, Is there anyone or anything you are pissed at?
WPO – “The people in the North were fighting for this change. They don’t know anything about my life or my business. They forced this change upon us.”
I placed a mat some distance away pointing in toward both, so looking at both the WPO and FBS.
It was The People of the North.
WPO – “I have a lot of anger, I want to strike out.”
FBS – “I feel like I want to move closer to that(People of the North).” Slowly he moved forward a bit.
“I feel stable, a little cautious, but I have my feet under me and grounded.”
WPO moved back. “It felt like a push back. This alliance is forming and I have been disregarded and disrespected.”
I asked for another representative who would be blind to represent “White Supremacy / KKK” (WS). I asked her to find her place. She went slowly behind the FBS at a bit of a distance.
WS – “It felt like I needed to be here and be a force behind him.”
FBS – “It felt like a push to my heart. I felt a kick start.” When asked, he did not need to move.
WPO – “I feel even more invisible. All this was decided without my consent; I am being disregarded.”
WS – I asked how she felt about WPO. “Only a little bit aware, no positive or negative feelings.” WS did take more of a power stance in the meantime, legs more apart. WS, “Not sure if needed or just what is here. I am not sure if I felt power, but felt like I need to be more solid. I felt shorter the other way. Now I am grounded.”
No one wanted to move when asked.
I asked for another representative that would start blind. It was President Johnson (PJ), the post Civil War President and in office since Lincoln had been assassinated. PJ found his place kind of between the FBS and WPO, and the latter moved even farther away.
PJ felt comfortable there in the middle of the whole thing.
How do you feel about FBS?
PJ – “I feel like I am some kind of a soothing force for the whole situation. I feel calm.”
WPO – “I feel OK here. I feel like there is almost a bridge through PJ to FBS. I don’t want to be closer though.”
WS – “I notice that before my visual field was low and now I see higher and am more attracted to things in the room. I am looking around just below the ceiling. I have no reaction to others there. It just feels right there; I am where I need to be.”
FBS – “I would like to take a step forward.” He did. “That feels good. I feel like I was almost rubber banded to WS and pushed to the side when PJ entered. So it feels a little more solid to be closer to the People of the North.”
In the meantime, everyone else shifted a bit. (after hearing FBS)
WS – “ I felt the rubber band – and needed to move forward when FBS did. So when he settled in I needed to get closer.”
PJ – “I expected him to move forward, so felt like I could back off a little bit; my job was partially done.”
WPO – “I moved to the side a bit; I didn’t feel that energetic bridge any more. I had not been paying attention to where my gaze was falling, but mostly toward the People of the North.”
Is there anything that you would like to say to the FBS?
WPO – “It’s like my feelings are hurt. (WPO sounded emotional). You don’t want to stay here? I thought I made a good life for you, and you want to leave? Like we were a family of sorts.” She feels sad.
To FBS – How is it for you to hear that?
FBS – “Angry. Just total bullshit. I am a person, not a piece of property. I have feelings.”
I asked if he would be OK to say that to WPO. He turned and said,
FBS - “I have feelings, likes and dislikes, a name, children, interests, I bleed when I am hurt, I breathe the same air.”
I asked WPO how that was to hear.
WPO – “When he said that he is a person just like me, I thought, well, not really! Even though I just said we are a family. How is he going to take care of himself out there? I take care of him. He’s not really like me. He should be grateful that I have been taking care of him.”
PJ was moving so I asked what was going on.
PJ – “Yes, I moved. I am just feeling a little bit protective of FBS. I can empathize with WPO but there’s just – I want to nurture his freedom.”
WS – “ I still feel neutral to that. I am still in my place”.
I decided to put in another unnamed mat (the Future Potential). Asked them to see how it feels for that to be there (in front of all of them and at a bit of distance)
WPO wanted to move closer to it. So she did.
WPO “It feels like I am not alone. I felt pushed out, pushed out and this felt like, OK I can be here”.
PJ moved too. When asked, “I felt the power in that and like those 2 were joined. (The WPO and the mat for Future Potential)
WPO – “I feel more powerful.”
PJ – “I wanted to protect the area between the new element/mat and WPO.
FBS – “At first I didn’t like it; it feels like it is cutting me down, right below the knees.”
WS – “I am very drawn to it and notice my gaze is down low again” (likely toward the mat for Future Potential).
I went and stood on the mat to see if anything came through. “It feels like I am not sure about you, WPO. I would like to think you will come with me, but I am not sure. And back there WS is blocked a bit. And I can see him FBS easily, and that is good. And PJ too. It feels like we have a long way to go. It would be nice if you would go too.” I told all the reps, “I wanted to be sure this is what I put it in as and I think it is. And I think it is. So it is really interesting that you (WPO) came toward this, the Future Potential. And to stand next to; and back there you are kind of back in neutral and not too involved. (WS)
FBS – “I feel that in my feet, that energy is very very low.” What does that mean. “It’s almost not reachable. It’s so far away.”
What would make it easier or closer.
FBS – “To go stand closer, next to it.” I asked him to try and he did.
I asked how that felt.
FBS – “Whew!! A movement, power. I get goosebumps.” So I asked him to stay there.
WPO – “it makes sense that I would go there. In my future things are different from this. When he (FBS) came there, it was like – no, that’s not what I want.”
I told WPO that “when I stood there on Future Potential, that if you could truly stand by me, that held a lot of potential. But it doesn’t sound like you are ready.”
WPO – “no, that’s not the future I envision.”
PJ had moved – “When he moved there (FBS), I felt great power. I had to move out of the way a bit; to leave room, for all the energy he was taking on. It was almost like knocking me over; I had to move off to the side.”
It doesn’t sound like it scared you.
PJ, “No, it just felt like a lot, the power.”
I asked WS how it was doing.
WS, “I feel kind of untethered. Unsteady. I don’t feel any urge to move, but I just feel unsteady. I can’t find my center.”
Has anything changed for you hearing the others.
FBS – “I do feel the loss of connection. I feel the power but feel the loss – something missing.” It seemed it was the ancestors. I moved the mat right behind him again, so they were still at his back. (I hadn’t moved his ancestors when he moved toward the Future Potential.)
PJ – “it seemed like you were willing to jump forward more and to take risks, feeling the power.”
I asked them all, “What does it mean to this system for a black man, a former slave to have power?”
This feels good (the ancestors).
Any other feelings here.
WPO – “I feel very alone again”
What would help you?
What if you had your ancestors behind you? WPO wasn’t sure so we tried it.
WPO – I feel more settled, like I have connection with something. It doesn’t change how I feel about the others.”
PJ – “I need to change my direction. I had my back to the WPO. I want to be open to both and support them. So we can make this work. I still feel very calm.
WS – “I feel like I am ready to go down. I feel a little nauseated.” I asked if it would help to sit down. “I can try sitting down. I feel very unstable.” (she sits on the floor) I asked how that was. “it is better, but I still feel this rocky, unstable feeling. It’s better here.”
PJ – When asked how it was for her, “I feel calm, nothing has changed, I need to be here in the middle.”
WPO – “I didn’t realize until she sat down, I feel agitated with the unsteadiness. You asked what would help me. I feel really misunderstood. It would really help me if somebody would acknowledge my point of view. Like if somebody would understand where I am coming from. It’s all about him (FBS) and his suffering. What about my suffering. I am the bad guy in all of this. No one acknowledges my point of view.”
I asked WPO if there was someone missing who might do that?
WPO – after thinking, “the people of the North. We are supposed to be the same; but I am the enemy, the bad guy.” Would you (WPO) be willing to see what would happen if you go over there and speak to them?
WPO – hesitates and says, “I don’t feel like I am willing to do that.”
When asked, FBS – “I feel like I want to share this with people (the power), but not if there is going to be tension and anger. There is room here. I am feeling the space, there’s room enough here for everybody, but there is not an opening in their hearts.”
WPO – “I don’t see it that way. I feel like I had a certain place, a certain power, and I have been pushed off of it. I don’t want to share it with him.”
I asked, “do you know why?”
WPO – “I am better than him.” “I want what is rightfully mine.”
FBS – “Terrible. How is it that you are better than me?”
WPO – “It’s obvious.”
FBS – “Not of me.”
WPO – after some time. “I am hot!” I say, “Yeah, maybe it’s hard to take.”
WPO – “Yeah, I felt like crying this whole time. Maybe that’s just me (the one in the role).” I asked her to just be with what she feels and know that’s part of what is coming through. To trust it.
I say, “This whole scene seems to depict the stalemate in the system. And in general for someone to sit on the floor means they are less empowered, or not well. It’s not a place of power.”
WPO – “I feel like sitting down too. I have been feeling sweaty, and nauseous, and really tired.”
I said, “Maybe it’s good if you can stay standing for whatever can emerge, if that’s OK for you.” WPO agreed.
I asked WS to look to see who she is. “White Supremacy and KKK”
I wait a bit for things to settle. Then I said, “it looks like when FBS went to stand on the Future Potential that disempowered you. She also wondered if she was the institution of Slavery. (That would have made sense when FBS went to stand on Future Potential and felt his power.) I suggested that sometimes people can represent multiple things. It all seems tied together. White Supremacy, KKK, the Institution of Slavery. What I noticed was that there was not particularly an affinity between the 2 of you – WS and WPO. They had not been drawn to or aware much of each other. I suggested there might be some potential here that WPO had not yet seen/felt. WPO noticed that disconnect too.
PJ – had her look to see who she is. President Johnson. He was president after the Civil War. I suggested that her representation seemed closer to Lincoln. What was coming through was more like Lincoln. Johnson was very different. He was not happy about all of this. Lincoln as a republican was radical believing in freedom for slaves. Johnson was a democrat from the South.
PJ said, “maybe that is why I felt like I wanted to help FBS and WPO come together? (as someone from the South)“ It was unclear as the energy seemed more like Lincoln.
I asked WPO, “Does anything change for you hearing any of this?”
WPO – “interesting I don’t feel quite as focused listening to them, and I stopped sweating and don’t feel sick anymore. I went internal and I feel cool now. So, what you said about not an alliance with WS. Not that energy exactly. It’s more like I do believe they are not as human as us. There is an affection, like we were a family, like my children I was taking care of and they want to leave, and I want to be in my place of power. There’s not hatred of wanting to erase a race. “
FBS – “that distinction is amazing. Hearing that as a former slave. It’s so dillusional that I am a child and in your eyes not as good as you. It sucks, really sucks to hear that. I makes me hate white people”.
I put one more mat down. Soul of America but did not name it. It was positioned in front to see and point toward all of them. take some minutes to see how you feel about this.
WPO- “I feel good about it. It feels like a light.”
WS – “I feel more calm”.
FBS – “at first I thought it was aliens, visitors – kind of chuckling.”
PJ – “I just had this sense to move a little to see it better.”
I asked if anyone wanted to stand on it. They all kind of chucked and said the one representing WS should. (Kind of teasing her I think – it also felt like the tension and stalemate of this constellation was easing.)
WS stepped out of that role. And leaving that behind.
She went to stand on Soul of America. “What first comes to my mind looking out is Family. Feeling like everyone belongs.” Some time. “I feel really solid. Grounded”.
Anything for anyone else having her there. PJ/L, “It feels better to have her there. Feels like hope, that we could make progress.”
WPO – “I feel different, I feel a possibility now to be in relationship with him.”
FBS – “It feels like she’s floating on – like a pulpit – a place to preach from almost.” I asked the FBS, “How do you feel about what WPO said?”
FBS – “Great!”
Soul of America – “it feels right. Of course, it feels right.”
WPO – “yeah, it’s interesting. Like it just switched. I could not see it at all before. No way, and now all of a sudden, I am OK.
FBS – “I feel like we can actually see each other now whereas there were so many veils earlier, distortions”.
WPO – “yeah, I couldn’t even look at him really.”
I asked Soul of America if she would move her mat and come farther forward (kind of into the middle) Asked if that feels OK for her. Felt good.
FBS – “yes, feels good, I want to come closer and bring my people with me. (ancestors).” I pointed out that having the support behind them, for both FBS and WPO is important. So he brought his ancestors (his people) with him. And He wanted the people of the North as well.
Soul of America – “I feel like who else can we bring in.” Everyone laughs. Tension is definitely broken and it feels more like community connection.
I revealed that she was the Soul of America. They all thought that was great! Dynamite to quote FBS. I explained I felt that was like the underlying Purpose of the USA. I could feel tears welling in me and others did too. So it felt like a healing movement, moment had happened in this constellation field.
It also related to Hope as was mentioned. They all felt complete, they were now in a circle, and felt more like family. One said, “we are all Americans.”
So, we closed to de-role and sit in our closing circle.
De-Roling is a very important ritual practice and is important here when working in a field with troubled imbedded patterns and large historical energies at work.
Slave Cabins near New Orleans, Louisiana
Closing Circle of Presencing – debrief - Circle sharing
We took some silence to honor what we have done here tonight.
How was your experience, how was it to represent and to be with the others there? What did you notice, or what surprised you? What are you learning about yourself in this process?
White Supremacy/KKK (WS) – (blind most of the constellation) It was an interesting connection we had that held us together (WS & FBS). First impression coming into the field, I felt like I wanted to push out, was that like annilation, to remove what was there. I am not sure. Interesting, because you would think if that was the case I would be up right behind him, but I had to stay back, maybe in the shadows. And the power stance I felt I needed to be in. I had a power stance, maybe even a swagger. I felt like maybe I was the Institution of Slavery. The other thing, you said (WPO) something about how everything was great and these other people messed this up. That reminded me as a kid, my dad saying, “Oh, that Martin Luther King, he is in there stirring everything up. For him(dad) things are much better now.” I look back, as whites, sitting in privilege, everything’s great, just fine. And those who are oppressed start trying to get their space and place. How upsetting that is to those who sit on top. That felt very true to me, that was a very important piece and still is. It disrupts things, when things seem to be working out just fine. Seemed very true. I felt connection with that.
WPO asked WS, “Why did you think you might be the Institution of Slavery”? She answered, “I think because of the tie to him, connected to him, FBS. Like I was following him around. He couldn’t get rid of me. That, and when he went and stood in power that really rocked me. Upset my little world. I felt like I was going to collapse (when she went to the floor).”
President Johnson/Bridge (or the institution of the Presidency, or the Spirit of Lincoln or a missing healing/mediator element) (blind most of the time). It was fascinating to see how the plantation owner felt. To see from that side. To really understand the depth of what happened. It tore that world apart. I never gave it that much thought. To have that understanding helps to complete the picture. When the freed slave stood on the future potential, it was powerful. I felt like I had to be a mediator, and protector of everybody. And a calming force to work things out. It was powerful. (Judy – while she was intended to represent the post war President, what was coming through was different than how history records Johnson. Often a missing element shows up. Her sense of wanting to mediate opposing groups feels like a healing element, needed, but for so long not there. It also felt to me like the spirit of Lincoln and his larger vision of bringing everyone together).
WS – asked if maybe she(PJ) was representing the government or the position of the presidency. Trying to talk with everyone. PJ answered, that it did feel like it was an official role, or the supreme court. Something that would make it all work.
White Plantation Owner – this was difficult for me to represent. I felt tears when I stepped into that representation. It is so valuable to take that perspective and for all of us to see it. There is a lot of judgment and disregard for that point of view. It was surprising that feeling of sadness and why did he want to leave his home. The Future Potential mat. I felt it was powerful, I wanted to go there. But when the freed black slave stood on it, I felt, Oh No, I don’t want to go there. Before the Soul of America came in I was wondering how in the world this could resolve. I really didn’t think it was going to. And maybe don’t have to figure it out. But then it did change instantly. With the Soul of America having one of us standing on it.
Freed Black Slave – We were finally able to see each other. I was finally able to see you (white plantation owner). What this is boiling down to is – what do we need to heal this? Is it an apology, is it removing confederate statues; I don’t think it’s that. I think it is awareness – can I see you as you are, without labels, history, my beliefs, engrained crystalized patterns? Interesting we have a crystal talking piece here tonight. A teacher had taught about how things crystalize, they are not malleable anymore, they are solid, and you can’t work with them, and you die that way. Awareness – if you can see something, you can work with it. It sure was a big ‘aha’ when you jumped up there. (the woman who went to the Soul of America mat)
WPO – So how would that work, the Soul of America shines its light on everybody, because that’s what it felt like?
Soul of America – I was thinking of finding the commonality. The common things among all of us here. The native peoples as well as those who came from other places. We are all connected by that, if we can see that. I can finally see you; awareness that he is a person, not just a Black.
PJ – In Texas how everyone was helping each other. Like the light shining on the Soul of America, everyone is helping. And people who have been quiet for so long; people are standing up and speaking when they have not before. Collectively maybe that’s where the goodness is going to shine through. In times of distress people do help each other no matter who you are. Doesn’t matter what party you belong to. Let the divisions go.
FBS – The shocks! The shock of hate groups! I felt this force hit my heart (from WS/KKK). Whether that meant you were destroying my will, or whatever the heart stands for. The shock of your energy pushed me forward (said to the one who was WS). I think we need these shocks to move forward, to move out of old patterns, to break them down and to build something new.
WPO – So take the example of someone who got a cancer diagnosis. Oh, what I have been doing is not working. So a healing process happens, not always easy, painful, but can be transformative. That feels like what we are going through as a country. See all these things that haven’t been working. The anger and the grief I have been holding; it’s all making me sick. But we have to look at it all. And heal it.
PJ – It’s like we have been sweeping it under the rug for so long. It’s like Trump came along and threw up the rug and it’s all over the place. We have to deal with it.
Everyone agrees – there’s no more rug!!
Judy: I want to mention how it was historically(from what I have read) at the end of Slavery. It was a huge loss for plantation owners. It was their whole economic viability; like everything was destroyed. And yes, the North could be blamed because they did won the war. That kind of wound is probably still being worked out in some way, in a lot of white people. Because of black people, or whoever the other(immigrant) is, things are said like, ‘they are taking our jobs’ (still an economic fear of loss). A lot of really smart white supremacists pit them against each other. Blacks, whites, Latinos, immigrants. Many feeling as a white person, I am better somehow and I am owed more and I have some privilege(like WPO in constellation). Then to have a black man become president(so much power). I think it threw many people into a total tailspin. Right wing media just keeps pounding on that. Seems like that dynamic was showing up there and its roots in this constellation.
One person asked – I wonder if that’s why we couldn’t have a woman president, especially after a black man.
Judy: likely yes; black was a huge shock, and a woman was just too far.
I want to point to some other things that have been mentioned.
Sadness – that Blacks were leaving the plantation. And reading the history, a lot of them were sad too. They were lost; didn’t know what to do. If they were young they could really see the opportunity. The older ones sometimes made contracts or bargains with their owners to stay.
White people, from what I have read, the women didn’t know how to cook or sew. The men didn’t know how to farm because someone had been doing it for all that time.
So it was whole groups of people feeling lost. Whites felt wronged. Ex-slaves were lost. It was called the Reconstruction Period. But is wasn’t long before whites felt they just couldn’t live with this. So that’s when the Jim Crow Laws came into being. They found ways to legislate so that black people weren’t truly citizens or didn’t truly have rights. And in the early 1900’s legislation passed that blacks are only 3/5 human. Women weren’t much better off – not that we were not humans, but no rights either.
I have put Soul of America in constellations before and it has always been ignored. (The group was surprised). I feel there needs to be a readiness. The other 2 (WPO and FBS), especially WPO didn’t seem ready and so it wouldn’t move until the Soul of America stood tall.
The image I have had of the Soul of America is diverse peoples from all over the world, including the indigenous, coming together and no matter how difficult eventually learning to get along and BE the United States of America. It seemed like the potential was here for that to happen. What could bring up that level of awareness?
Maybe something like the hurricane, but it hasn’t lasted before. But now there are a lot of them.
They agreed and one person said, “Bam, bam, bam!
Another offered, “Whole lines of spiritual traditions are based on shocks.
That’s the basis of the Gurdiffian Work. Harsh work. Very brutal. But some good nuggets in there.
One asked, “is there another country with this level of diverse people?” We thought not. Nobody has done this before. It’s a big deal.
Judy: It’s spreading now with mass migrations taking place across the world; but this has been going on since the very beginning of who we are as Americans. In the beginning the Founding Fathers were wealthy white land owners. But somehow these founding principles were put into the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that made it possible for these kinds of things to eventually happen. What I saw out of Charlottesville too was that more and more people are willing to stand up. To speak out! More than ever before. Feels hopeful to me.
PJ – I know lots of people who are speaking up who never have before.
Ending with silence to close our sacred space for this evening.
We took a moment of silence to honor and close the space.
I asked that they feel all the support at their backs and take that with them into life.