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There is a shift occurring at Seeing with Your Heart that is both subtle and profound. With a few days off over the holiday, while the winter snow fell and the holiday bells rang, Dan and Emily took refuge in the quiet of their home to explore this shift alonside the shadows of grief, angst, and conflict living in the recesses of their hearts. Amidst the weight of global perils of new and continuing warfare and unchecked environmental destruction, they brought the light of alchemy that calls the mysterious forces of life and love to generate their magic.

What is changing is the ways our Constellations are expanding beyond the known histories of generational traumas of the victim-perpetrator bond to grow connections with the regenerative powers of the living earth and the resonance of infinite consciousness. Century after century of war destroyed more than lives and property; they drove the mystical, magical, and impassioned ways of global wisdom traditions to near extinction. Despite that, life is a persistent phenomenon; like grass growing through cracks in pavement, the capacity of our bodies and minds to receive and transmit into the Knowing Field cannot be extinguished.

During the 12 days of Christmas, Emily built an object constellations altar for the upcoming Alchemical Constellations, Energy Medicine, and Contemporary Magic retreat at the St. Ottilien Archabbey, March 4-8 with the intention to build on past foundations while transcending beyond the paradigm of the victim-perpetrator bond. To do this, she gathered photographs from Dan Cohen, Antonia Stessl, Rotger Heilmeier, and Lisa Murphy of their ancestors, their land, and the lineage of resources that shaped their life and decided to frame them.  She wanted to look into the eyes of the ancestors who created her collaborators and touch into the heart of their family, beyond the fate.  For Jewish and Nazi descendants to come together with an intention to reconnect to the green Earth and wisdom traditions of Germany, including our ancestors and their humanity in the movement felt integral. 

As Dan looked at the images, he recalled a memorable 3-day retreat in 2009 that he facilitated at Föhrenwald (near Munich), the former site of a World War II displaced persons camp for Jewish holocaust survivors. Dan’s father Henry Cohen was the Director of the Camp in 1946. The commemorative museum, along with Brigitta Mahr and Alexandra Senfft (author of Schweigen Tut Weg/Silence Hurts), hosted the gathering. Forty individuals came together to find healing for themselves, their family systems, and the underground trauma that bled into the land and remains felt in the bodies of those with sensitive souls.

Everyone who answered the call to attend brought a story. Many were the one sibling in their families who carried the weight of their family’s Nazi past. Others knew or suspected a secret connection to Jewish lineage. Others were confronted by mystery, like the woman whose uncle survived the War then committed suicide in 1946. She was plagued by the question, “What had he done or witnessed that drove him to take his life?” Another woman knew her father as a low-level soldier; after he died, she discovered hidden papers that revealed he was Commandant of a major death camp.

For many who feel drawn to join these circles, there is an ache in the heart that cannot find peace or come to rest. In the silence of our dreams, in our hurtful thoughts, in the closed off places in our relationships, the tragedies and traumas that befell our parents, grandparents, and older ancestors are encoded in our cellular memory. Forgotten losses ripple across generations, reappearing as nightmares, panic attacks, dissociation, or unbearable grief.

Those of us who become healers, peacemakers, and teachers know these inner disturbances motivate our kindness and compassion. We honor our ancestors’ fates and comfort their pain by embracing that we are the living fruit grown from the soil of their sacrifices.

In one heart-breaking Constellation, a representative for an SS officer faced a representative for a Yiddish speaking Jew who was deported and gassed without offering resistance. A third representative stood as the crematorium at Auschwitz. The furnaces at Auschwitz acted as a crucible, where the heartlessness of Nazism and the defenseless of Yiddishkeit forged new alloys. When the German and Jewish representatives emerged from the ovens, one had softened and the other hardened. Both spoke, “Never Again!” with nearly opposite meanings.

This image arises today when we witness the war between Israel and Gaza. The enormity of the destruction of ordinary life – whether the slaughter is at an Israeli music festival or Gazan hospital – is rooted in generational trauma. Following the mystical principal of As Above, So Below / As Inward, So Outward, whatever we see externally that outrages us, can always find resolution in the interior spaces of the heart.

In the 1980s, Dan created peace camps between German and Jewish American teens. He also lived in Palestine as a Jewish peacemaker. His reflections on the current war are grounded in a lifetime of pursuing alchemical transformation between Germans, Jews, and Palestinians.

Despite the persistence of upheavals that rarely cease erupting, beauty always finds its path to regenerate. This is the season to be a source of wisdom, warmth and love for your family, friends, and community, to find solace and inspiration in the company of like-minded souls.

Register now for a transformative experience that will leave you feeling uplifted, connected, and ready to radiate brightly like the North Star even on the darkest nights. Because, in the tapestry of life, your thread is an essential part of the beautiful pattern we collectively create. Let’s weave with spirit together in unity, in oneness. 

Dan's Reflections on the War in Gaza

In the days before Christmas, 1983, I connected with the Bethlehem Peace Pilgrimage in the final weeks of their 18-month, 7,000-mile walk. The pilgrimage was started by Father George Zabelka, a Jesuit chaplain who, on the morning of August 6, 1945, had blessed the mission of the Enola Gay, the Air Force bomber that dropped the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima. Days later, he counseled an airman who had flown a low-level reconnaissance flight over the city. The man described how thousands of scorched, twisted bodies writhed on the ground in the final throes of death, while those still on their feet wandered aimlessly in shock – flesh seared, melted, and falling off.

Contemplating his complicity in the destruction, he said:

If a soldier came to me and asked if he could put a bullet through a child’s head, I would have told him, Absolutely Not! But in 1945, I blessed countless squadrons of planes that flew to Japan with the express purpose of killing not one child or one civilian, but of slaughtering hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of children and civilians – and I said nothing.

For the rest of his life, Father George devoted himself to eliminating war and especially nuclear weapons. By 1981, seeing the continued expansion of nuclear arsenals worldwide, he announced he was going to walk from the US Navy’s Trident submarine base in Puget Sound, Washington to Bethlehem on a pilgrimage for peace.

The pilgrimage completed on Christmas Eve, 1983 when we arrived in Manger Square. The peace pilgrims sat in circle until dawn reading prayers for peace given to the walkers along the way. For the first time as a Jewish man, I understood the true meaning of Christmas. Soon after, Father George spoke these words, which I recall with great grief today:

I never preached a single sermon against killing civilians to the men who were doing it. It never entered my mind to speak out. I was told it was necessary and I went along with it.

Today the world is watching. Ethical hairsplitting over the morality of various acts of mass slaughter is not what the world needs, although it is what the world has come to expect. What the world needs are people who will say – in language that the simplest soul could understand – Absolutely Not! to mass slaughter.

After the pilgrimage, I stayed on, living in Bethlehem as a Jewish peacemaker for the next four months. What was perhaps most illuminating for me was the disparity between the narrative I had grown up with and what I witnessed firsthand. As most Americans, I believed that the Israelis sincerely yearned for peace, but the Palestinians only responded with violence and terrorism. What I saw instead, was the Israeli presence in the occupied West Bank was relentlessly heartless, cruel, and dehumanizing.

My host in Bethlehem was Elias Hananiah, whose family had resided in Judea since Biblical times. As such, he considered himself a descendent of the Hebrews deserving to be in his ancestral homeland. Instead, he was stateless, without a passport, citizenship, or any civil rights whatsoever. Elias was warm, well-educated, and fluent in multiple languages. He could not have been further from being a radical terrorist, but woe to him whenever we had cause to interact with an Israeli, whether my own well-meaning cousin in Jerusalem or at the welcome center at a meditation community in the Galilei.

During my months living in Bethlehem and traveling through Israel and the West Bank, I met scores of friendly and welcoming people of all nationalities. My presence was always welcomed. The most common request from Palestinians was, “Please tell our story.” 

It breaks my heart that this year in Bethlehem, the traditional nativity scene depicts Mary holding her lifeless infant swaddled in a burial shroud amidst bombed out rubble and razor wire. This new spasm of violence does not come as a surprise. From those days, confirmed by the years since, I knew that a day of reckoning was coming where the public’s failure to support gestures towards building a multiethnic civil society would lead to a horrific period of bloodshed and destruction.

Soon after I became a Constellations facilitator, I wrote a chapter for the book, Messengers of Healing: The Family Constellations of Bert Hellinger Through the Eyes of a New Generation of Practitioners. It has been many years since I looked back at what I wrote. But as I write this tonight, the words I composed seem prescient.

Jewish DNA is coded with an inexorable fear of violent destruction. When the terrorist in our midst is a Palestinian suicide bomber, we can deploy the armed forces to destroy his or her family’s house or an entire village. We can attack other countries. We can construct fences to wall ourselves off. When the terrorist in our midst is our child, lover, or even an aspect of ourselves, the Army won’t defend us.

Jews can live as Jews without having enemies who want to kill us when we acknowledge and accept that Palestinians have the same dignity, the same honor, and the same desires. A Palestinian life is exactly equal in value to a Jewish life. The tears of Palestinians and Israelis carry the exact same measures of grief. Their mothers love their children just as much. Their fathers want only what other fathers want. Their children are just as frightened.

Emily and I spend our days shining light into the inner reaches of the heart seeking to alchemize the traumas of past horrors into ancestral blessings for life’s flourishing. Though it may seem that there are fewer pilgrims for peace than advocates of war, our labors are no less important.  Joining together to See with our Hearts is a way through and we are grateful to each of you who have read this far and traveled alongside us.

 

Grow your inner wisdom, release the effects of inherited family trauma, and embody rhythmic flow in this 5-day deep-dive Seeing with Your Heart residential retreat. Led by an internationally renowned training faculty, we call together a diverse circle of consciousness evolutionaries prepared to free themselves from inherited entanglements patterns, soul restrictions, and hidden family dynamics.

In the images of our dreams, in our intrusive thoughts, in the darkest places in our hearts live the parts of us that cannot find peace or truly come to rest. Through Alchemical Family Constellations, Soul Constellations, and Sacred Sound Healing facilitated by Dan Cohen, Emily Blefeld, Lisa Murphy, Antonia Stessl, and Rotger Heilmeier the terrible fates that befell and were carried out by our fathers and mothers, grandparents, and older generations will be revealed and given their proper acknowledgement. When we honor our ancestors’ losses and see ourselves through their eyes, their pain in our bodies alchemizes into healing love.

The five facilitators for this retreat have refined embodied processes of sacred sound healing, oral transmission, alchemy, the Knowing Field, and shamanic journeying to empower you to use your body as brilliant sensing instruments of infinite wisdom. As you attune to these frequencies of non-local consciousness, you receive insights and realizations that are specific to your life and soul’s purpose. Receiving these resources will shift your perspective, open your capacity for self-expression, and enhance your vibrancy and well-being.

Are you ready to embark on a mystical journey of self-discovery, transformation, and awakened potential? Generational Alchemy is the art of tapping into the timeless frequency, knowledge, and practices of your ancestors and harnessing their power, potency, and gifts to manifest the life of your dreams. It’s the key to unlocking the hidden potential within you, as you bridge the gap between magic and manifestation.

Within your body remains the wisdom of generations past, the sacred rituals, ceremonies, and initiations, alongside the encoded memory of unresolved traumas and resulting patterns of pain and suffering that have haunted your family for years and grip your everyday. Intergenerational trauma is a silent force that can shape our lives, but it doesn’t have to define our destiny.

Whether we call it divination, prayer, magic, ritual, routine, or leadership, the elements of manifestation require soul inspired alignment of intention, liberated embodiment, and rhythmic action. And to fully invoke these elements, it is beneficial to offer your lower frequencies, discordant energies, and all that does not serve you (and was never yours) to the fire of transmutation, the violet flame at the core of your being.

The earth awakens after the dream of winter. Animals stir, buds swell, and spring’s expansive vibrant energy invites us to emerge, grow, and bloom in our one precious life. Do you trust what lives in you? Can you harvest your life force energy to flower?

Come immerse yourself in an alchemical workshop experience designed to transform your deepest longing into life’s reality! Cultivate the desire that moves within and root it into your life – your family, business, relationships, passion, and authentic self.

Together with others who hold a shared commitment to fulfilling their unique human blueprint, you will embark on a journey that explores every aspect of your existence and calls all parts of you into harmonious formation. Supported every step of the way by Emily Blefeld, Dan Cohen, the Seeing with Your Heart Leadership Team, and the group itself, participants transmute their inherited patterns of negative mind chatter, self-destructive impulses and hijacking emotions and step powerfully forward unencumbered and fully resourced.

Attend In Person or Livestream from Anywhere

Unite Worlds & Bridge Realities with a groundbreaking experience where the boundaries between the virtual and physical realms dissolve, creating a truly immersive and dynamic event.

With Menla’s audio-visual tech team and Seeing with Your Heart’s leadership team of Systemic Constellation Facilitator’s, we’ve reimagined the retreat experience, allowing you to embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth, no matter where you are in the world. Whether you choose to join us in person or participate virtually from your home, you will experience the magic of a unified event and be part of an international community on a shared quest for personal transformation.

Menla is a hidden oasis set in a secluded valley beside an enchanting stream in the heart of the Catskill mountains. A truly unique venue, Menla is a project of Tibet House US – the Dalai Lama’s cultural center in North America.

330 acres of private wilderness are at your feet. Clear your mind. Let nature reignite your creative passion and life force. Menla is an official Audubon bird sanctuary, and the calming sound of birdsong is with you from dawn to dusk.

Stay in a range of deluxe accommodations or shared cabins set in fragrant woods and gardens with murmuring streams and trails nearby.

If you are interested in working privately with Dan and/or Emily, we welcome you to CLICK HERE to learn more about our services.  Together we will identify the inherited patterns present and the pathways to create space for the possibility of the future calling you forward.

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