“When we have passed a certain age, the soul of the child we were and the souls of the dead from whom we have sprung come to lavish on us their riches and their spells.”

Marcel Proust – In Search of Lost Time

Trans-generational Memory – more research

Here is an article that appeared in The Sunday Times on 2nd March that gives credence to trans-generational memory.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that with all this rather alarming information increasingly appearing in scientific papers that there is something that we can do to help ourselves achieve a more abundant life – what ever the origins and experiences of our dear ancestors were. This is Systemic Family Constellation work.

Luckily we had the beginnings of the solution before science ‘proved” the problem.

Here’s to trusting our intuition and inner knowing!

400 year mobility

Systemic Constellation Work is Scientifically Validated

The trans-generational influences that we so powerfully experience at a somatic level when working with the Systemic Constellation approach have now been proven to be ‘real’. Of course, those of us who have been benefitting from this work for years will need no proof – but for others who need convincing, here is an article about the recent research.

4 systemic constellations generations

‘Memories’ pass between generations

By James Gallagher   Health and science reporter, BBC News

Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory, animal studies suggest.

Experiments showed that a traumatic event could affect the DNA in sperm and alter the brains and behaviour of subsequent generations.

A Nature Neuroscience study shows mice trained to avoid a smell passed their aversion on to their “grandchildren”.

Experts said the results were important for phobia and anxiety research.

The animals were trained to fear a smell similar to cherry blossom.

The team at the Emory University School of Medicine, in the US, then looked at what was happening inside the sperm.

They showed a section of DNA responsible for sensitivity to the cherry blossom scent was made more active in the mice’s sperm.

Both the mice’s offspring, and their offspring, were “extremely sensitive” to cherry blossom and would avoid the scent, despite never having experienced it in their lives.

Changes in brain structure were also found.

“The experiences of a parent, even before conceiving, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations,” the report concluded.

Family affair

The findings provide evidence of “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance” – that the environment can affect an individual’s genetics, which can in turn be passed on.

One of the researchers Dr Brian Dias told the BBC: “This might be one mechanism that descendants show imprints of their ancestor.

“There is absolutely no doubt that what happens to the sperm and egg will affect subsequent generations.”

Prof Marcus Pembrey, from University College London, said the findings were “highly relevant to phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders” and provided “compelling evidence” that a form of memory could be passed between generations.

He commented: “It is high time public health researchers took human transgenerational responses seriously.

“I suspect we will not understand the rise in neuropsychiatric disorders or obesity, diabetes and metabolic disruptions generally without taking a multigenerational approach.”

In the smell-aversion study, is it thought that either some of the odour ends up in the bloodstream which affected sperm production or that a signal from the brain was sent to the sperm to alter DNA.

2014 – The Year of the Yang Wood Horse

Happy New Year to you all!  Apart from my personal love of horses and wishing to share my delight that we are now in the year of the horse, I thought this beautifully written piece gives us all food for thought about the coming year. Enjoy!

Posted by Western School of Feng Shui    By Karen Abler Carrasco, WSFS Consultant, Mentor and Teacher

Year Of the Yang Wood Horse

There might not be a bigger shift of energies in the entire 60 year wheel of Chinese astrology than this one coming up–the shift from two Water years of deep introspection to the fast-paced spurt of extroverted forward propulsion that the Wood Horse brings.  Hold on to your hats, folks, and realize that you won’t be able to, nor will you want to, slow your horses in the New Year ahead!

This will be a promethean year, the Beginning of all beginnings, arriving around January 31st to February 4th, 2014.  Full of uplift, optimism and compelling inspiration, we will be guided into purposeful action of the most elegantly simple and powerfully fruitful kind.  After two years of feeling every revelation of corruption in the dark as if it was scouring our subconscious insides and wringing us dry of watery emotion, we are READY for this change!  Light, hope and clarity of vision gallop in. Emerge from your cocoons, everybody, here we goooooo!

Because this will be such a big change of energetic experience for us, it will help to review here how the cycle of the sacred Five Elements, or Phases, have set us up for this shift.  In that cycle, Wood feeds Fire, Fire’s ash creates Earth, Earth’s compression reveals gems of Metal, and Metal collects and holds Water, which nourishes the Wood to start the cycle all over again. The natural laws of these five elements are actually working in multiple ways throughout Nature, our bodies, our psychologies and the energetic movements of all things here on this planet.  In these movements, there are cycles within cycles, one of which is the cycle of birth, growth, disintegration and death, or the void that comes after old life and before new life.

We have just been traveling through that void, in two Water years, which immersed us in a descending place of degeneration, dissolution and chaos, a time when our internal world of formless spirit and emotions held total sway over every attempt at external control or order.  For most of us, it was an unsettling time of letting go of many things, either voluntarily or forcefully, a time of deep soul searching, with gradual or sudden destabilization in many areas of family and livelihood.  There was a profound search for a return to a spiritual basis for daily living.  This all had the effect of highlighting an individual’s isolation and powerlessness within a seemingly random and careless society.  Not that outright rebellion and outcry didn’t happen, globally as well as internally.  The 2012 Yang Water Dragon year saw to that, with its critical promptings of social responsibility and heroism, and this Yin Water Snake year that followed delved even deeper into the most hidden caves of stagnant dysfunctionality and corruption on all levels.

The good and great news is that we have completed 5 years of the degenerative part of the cycles–that of the harvested, decomposing Earth, compressing and eliminative Metal, and dissolving, settling out, cleansing Water.  We now emerge into the generative cycles–powerful, bursting buds of Wood’s new growth fuelling the joyful outreach and passions of Fire and the beginnings of Earth’s fruitful harvests.

So, that’s the Wood part of what’s coming.  Now to turn our gaze to the animal symbol of Horse. This sprouting upward rush of Wood energy will find its perfect release into the impulsive and passionate nature of the Yang Horse, whose native element is Fire.  The Horse energy inspires powerful INTUITION and an indomitable surge towards freedom in every aspect of life. This is a year to follow your inner voice like never before, for it will have a universal cosmic ch’i within it.  Higher guidance is with us every step of the way.  Reach for the sky, call up your vision, fuel your plans with vision boards and creativity, find a fresh path and pace yourself well.  This yang Horse year has the potential to channel the powerful new upthrust of Wood’s Ch’i through the Horse’s Heart energy of Fire and into every project we start, every desire we reach for.  It will keep our eager plans from being dominated by too much “head” and not enough “heart.”

It may be quite challenging to trust that we have this absolutely new, purified and hopeful energy to build on now.  Our hearts have had to endure a gauntlet of deconstruction through two Metal and two Water years, but the fiery Horse is about to change all of that.  Within the extroverted “Green Horse” year, we will not only branch out with new growth, but we will be able to stoke the Fire element of love in every area of life.  Follow your intuition fearlessly, as it is both the horse’s main attribute which preserves its freedom and powerful health and it is Wood’s primary talent for stretching into the unknown future.  Reach out with irrepressible faith to a new level of social communion and mutual support.  Trust every impulse to embrace a revitalized and renewed sensitivity for the pleasures this earthly dimension has to offer.

Step up and out of any old clutter, stored memories, should-have-dones or regrets.  The time to deal with that is over for now.  Untangle your thoughts quickly and get clear on what it is that you truly desire in this lifetime.  Your trusty steed is here, full of vibrant health and tremendous stamina.  It should be quite a fast ride, so grab a fistful of mane, hang on to the reins, cast your old cares to the wind and let out a whoop of delight–Yeeehaaw! Upward and onward we thrive!  May we all be blest abundantly as we hold each other closer in the circle of health and new life the Wood Horse year brings.

Year of the Yang Wood Horse 2

Family Constellation Workshops & Frozen Lakes

The world, I’ve come to think, is like the surface of a frozen lake. We walk along, we slip, we try to keep our balance and not to fall. One day, there’s a crack, and so we learn that underneath us — is an unimaginable depth.

James Joyce

As i walked the dogs this morning the valley below me was filled with a  deep, smooth mist, which hung silently, filling all the crevices of hill and tree… it looked just like the frozen lake in my imagination when I read this piece by Joyce.

I have yet to put the 2014 programme of Family Constellation Workshops up on my website – it is a job to be done next week…. if you are feeling like the ice is cracking under your feet then do send me an email and I will give you the information.

Keep warm as the temperature drops us down into winter!



family constellations ice

A rather lovely prayer and evocation

This is worth passing on I think…. prayer is a form used in Systemic Constellations, as is the power of evocation. This is a wonderful wish to evoke peace and wellbeing for us all. I wish you a peaceful day!

Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.


Flower picture by Uma age 6

Flower picture by Uma age 6

Systemic Constellations, Native American Traditions and The Web of Life


We had an eclipse of the moon in Aires today at 11.51 GMT. This eclipse offers us an opportunity to feel into the desire of our heart rather than follow the dreams and the truths of others (more information here). Another eclipse will occur on 3rd November in Scorpio. These events brought to mind this amazing photograph taken by Edward S Curtis – Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon. I have a small poster of this image of their light-restoring ritual that has moved house with me many, many times.

Synchronicity must be at work here as I also recently came across this quote by Chief Seattle. It reminds us of our place in the Greater Whole and the connection between our ‘systemic lens’ in Constellation Work and the wisdom tradition of the Native Americans.

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.We are a part of the earth and it is part of us.

Systemic Constellation Books on this topic:

There are two books that I would highly recommend that address this connection between Systemic Constellations and a Shamanic Practice.  Take a look if you are interested.

Images of the Soul by Daan Van Kampenhout (ISBN 3-89670-231-9)  The Workings of the Soul in Shamanic Rituals and Family Constellations

Connecting to Our Ancestral Past by Francesca Mason Boring   Healing through family constellations, ceremony, and ritual

Let’s all enjoy the light after the dark of the eclipse! The sun has come out again (but only just in Somerset!)

the essence of systemic constellations…

When each person is in the right place;

When each is being true to what is important to that person;

When each is attending to his or her own life and not interfering with the others;

Then everyone has dignity and self-esteem and feels good


Acknowledging What Is

By Bert Hellinger

Elephant Veneration of the Dead – a story of interconnectedness

Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 7. His family tells of a solemn procession on March 10 that defies human explanation                                                 


Elephant 1

A line of elephants approaching the Anthony house (Photo courtesy of the Anthony family)


Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa who bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003, died this year. He is remembered and missed by his family and by numerous elephants. Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his  home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say  goodbye to their beloved man-friend. A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.


For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives. The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died on March 7? Known for his unique ability to calm traumatised elephants, Anthony had become a legend. 

There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after Anthony’s death.

“They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts “The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.”

Elephants have long been known to mourn their dead. In India, baby elephants often are raised with a boy who will be their lifelong “mahout.” The pair develop legendary bonds – and it is not uncommon for one to waste away without a will to live after the death of the other. The first herd to arrive at Thula Thula several years ago were violent. They hated humans. Anthony found himself fighting a desperate battle for their survival and their trust, which he detailed in his book ‘The Elephant Whisperer’:

It was 4:45 a.m. and I was standing in front of Nana, an enraged wild elephant, pleading with her in desperation. Both our lives depended on it. The only thing separating us was an 8,000-volt electric fence that she was preparing to flatten and make her escape. Nana, the matriarch of her herd, tensed her enormous frame and flared her ears. “’Don’t do it, Nana,” I said, as calmly as I could. She stood there, motionless but tense. The rest of the herd froze. “’This is your home now,” I continued. “Please don’t do it, girl.” I felt her eyes boring into me. “’They’ll kill you all if you break out. This is your home now. You have no need to run any more.” Suddenly, the absurdity of the situation struck me, Anthony writes. Here I was in pitch darkness, talking to a wild female elephant with a baby, the most dangerous possible combination, as if we were having a friendly chat. But I meant every word. “You will all die if you go. Stay here. I will be here with you and it’s a good place.” She took another step forward. I could see her tense up again, preparing to snap the electric wire and be out, the rest of the herd smashing after her in a flash. I was in their path, and would only have seconds to scramble out of their way and climb the nearest tree. I wondered if I would be fast enough to avoid being trampled. Possibly not. Then something happened between Nana and me, some tiny spark of recognition, flaring for the briefest of moments. Then it was gone. Nana turned and melted into the bush. The rest of the herd followed. I couldn’t explain what had happened between us, but it gave me the first glimmer of hope since the elephants had first thundered into my life.

So, how after Anthony’s death, did the reserve’s elephants — grazing miles away in distant parts of the park — know?

“A good man died suddenly,” says Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Ph.D., “and from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in a solemn, almost ‘funereal’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased man’s home.”

“If there ever were a time, when we can truly sense the wondrous  interconnectedness of all beings,’ it is when we reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart’s stops, and hundreds of elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered healing to these elephants, and now, they came to pay loving homage to their friend.”

Elephant 2

 Adapted from a piece written by Rob Kerby, Senior Editor Beliefnet.

Gratifying Your Ancestors

GD 7 Generations

Tarpana – Gratifying Your Ancestors

I was very fortunate to spend February this year in India undertaking a purification retreat at the Somatheeram Ayurvedic Hospital in Kerala. It is a very beautiful place and in a previous blog posting you can see pictures of the local beach by the Arabian Sea.

Having spent time learning about Ayurveda, following a strict diet and a serious daily health regime, I was particularly interested to read this article by Dr Robert Svoboda as it illuminates an element of Ayurvedic practice of which I was not previously aware…And of course the similarities in principle with constellation work will not escape anyone.

 The process of Tarpana, described below in an edited version, offers another way of working respectfully to honour the ancestors and lift the weight of their fate and its affect on us. Have a read if this interests you…

There are no permanent physical or mental cure for constitutional weaknesses (constitution as defined by Ayurveda, the science of life and health). Once you have identified yourself as a Vata, Pittaor Kapha type, or a combination of two of these, you are stuck with that constitution, and all its benefits and defects, until you die.

There are only two ways to escape. One way is if you are a spiritual aspirant, and follow strict spiritual disciplines. Under such controlled conditions there will be little occasion for your constitution to display itself. It will not change, but it will not disturb you. The other way involves the ancient ritual of Tarpana. Related to the Sanskrit word Trpti, which means satiation or satisfaction, Tarpana is a process of gratifying your ancestors.

There is a Law of Nature known as Bija Vrksha Nyaya: the Law of Seed and Tree. Your seeds are your genes and chromosomes, the essence of your parents’ germ plasm (plasma). You are the tree, the product of those seeds. Half your genes come from one parent, and half from the other. No matter how you try to distance yourself from your parents, in space, time, or interaction, your genes and their genes are identical, and resonate with one another. Your parents’ emotions are bound to resonate with your emotions, no matter how distant you may be from them, because of this fundamental identity. This is why telepathic communication sometimes exists between parent and child.

Because your parents’ genes originated in your grandparents, your emotions will be influenced by their emotions, and by the emotions of your great-grandparents, and so on, back at least seven generations. Even though most of your ancestors are already dead the subtle effects of their personalities remain in your genetic environment and continue to affect you.

Tarpana works by reducing the emotional charges, which have accumulated in you as a result of the activities of your forebears.

The traditional ritual of Tarpana is complex, but its essence is simple. It is much like the All Soul’s tradition, when people visit their relatives in the cemetery. In preparation, consider what one food item your parent or grandparent was fondest of. May be it is the apple strudel your grandmother used to bake, or the ale your father used to drink. That food will act as a vehicle for your emotion.

Sit comfortably facing south and visualize your dead ancestors, one by one, as far back as you can remember. Ask each one to sit in front of you. Telling them you want to help release them from any residual earthly desires they might have, offer them a spoonful of water, a spoonful of milk, and a spoonful of sesame seeds, preferably the black variety. These offerings are the same for everyone.

Then offer a little of the special item, with the heartfelt wish that this will satisfy any residual cravings and allow that individual, wherever he or she is, to continue with their own progression towards greater integration and clarity. You then request them to return whence they came. Feed any remaining food you offered to an animal, or put it into a river or the ocean. It is good to repeat this annually.  The best days for Tarpana are New Moon Days, especially those which fall in September (PitrPaksha).

You need not believe in reincarnation, or life after death, to perform Tarpana. Your parents and grandparents are still alive inside you, in your genes. You are simply projecting a part of your personality, contacting it, and requesting it to be pleased with you and to relinquish any inappropriate influence it may have over you. This visualization releases you from any unhealthy psychological habits you may have as a result of the influence of these previous beings who also shared your genes, and of the images you have of those beings.

Tarpana is especially important for ancestors you knew personally. If you loved them, you show them your love in the only way remaining to you, by remembering them and offering part of yourself to them as a token of your love. If your relationship with them was marred by negative emotions, Tarpana allows you to heal the relationship by sacrificing your negativity and offering them the healing power of your love. Thankfulness for the genes which have given you life, and forgiveness for those genes which have limited your existence, transport the sacrifice to its intended target.

If you are convinced that this procedure can actually help eliminate any negativity remaining between you and the image you hold of your ancestor, it will. Faith is essential for it to work; you must make your offering with complete sincerity. Faith can truly make you whole.

Faith can make our society whole as well. Tarpana is important to all of us who have forgotten our roots. It creates the bond which should exist between our ancestors and us. Hindu tradition regards Tarpana as a duty, which every child must perform for its parents. When we accept this responsibility we relinquish forgetfulness. Tarpana is an act of remembrance, which solidifies the link between the generations. By opening ourselves to our ancestral influences and forgiving our forebears their imperfections, we open ourselves to their accumulated wisdom, which can cement our culture together.


A Story for the Solstice

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice!

“Is there anything I can do to make myself enlightened?” the seeker asked the teacher.

“As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning,” the teacher answered.

“Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?” the seeker said.

And the teacher responded, “To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to shine.”