Reflections on the Castle Intensive & New Programs in the Works
- Free Event on 9/24/22 and 6 Week Course Starting on 10/16/22
- Seeing with Your Heart: Alchemical Constellations Training Program Beginning February 2023 – Details Coming Soon
- Livestream Workshop at the Australasian Family, Systemic & Organizational Constellation Intensive: 10/23/2022 Time to Be Determined
We are such stuff As dreams are made on… ~ Shakespeare, The Tempest
In 2015, after our Seeing with Your Heart intensive on a jousting field at the base of Stirling Castle in Scotland, we reflected on what we encountered, “One thread that wove its way through much of our ceremony, ritual and systemic process were the dark forces of destruction that pillage nations.” We have worked in many places where darkness lurks, but none like this. Here, “there were times it felt we were enduring a fierce storm, as if we were being lashed in the hard wind and rain. But each time, in the end, love returned to dry our tears, ease our sickened stomachs, and restore our delight in the beauty and joy of being alive.” From haunted nights where multiple folks were woken from their sleep by malevolent spirits, to constellation work that hacked the mainframe of our bodies and took months to integrate, we returned with an initiation in psychic hygiene and newfound awareness of the force of non-ordinary consciousness.
The folks who had gathered in Scotland traveled from the temple of the goddess to the womb of the mother, to the grief of the widow, to the heart of the son. Our final constellation was for a man who sought to open his heart in love, to heal the rage that erupts in his relationships, and to ground a sense of safety and place in the world. We found ourselves with his father, a war veteran with PTSD, who raised his son and treated his wife as if they were on a battlefield in their own home. This man led the group in a song in Scottish dialect offering tribute and acknowledgement for the wounded masculine.
Folks began to dance, to sing, to move in circular motion around the trees, some wept, some laughed, some stared at the sky above. We came together at the end and the men in the circle shared some of the suffering, pain, and grief being men in this world and sons of their fathers and grandfathers. One man shared that his father’s fist was the only contact that he received from his father and that he had come to look forward to it as a boy as a way of receiving his father’s love.
This summer, we returned to live international events for the first time since the start of the pandemic. An invitation to again lead a castle intensive – this one in England – blew in from out of nowhere. This time, we were a bit more prepared and ready for the adventure. In just a few weeks, we made all the arrangements, the portal opened, and some of the same men and women who were with us in Scotland chose to join us in England.
As we typically do when starting a workshop with participants who are new to Constellations, Emily opened with our Heart Exercise, which introduces how we work with representatives. She asked Dan to demonstrate by tuning-in and representing her heart. After dropping in for a few moments, Dan reported seeing an image of Emily’s heart as a large dandelion seedhead. It danced and sparkled white for a few moments, then a blast of gusty wind sent the seeds flying.
Unbeknownst to Dan, Emily had been drinking Dandelion Root tea daily to ally with the consciousness of Dandelion and the element of wind in seeding the intentions of the participants in her Empowered Empath and Sage Soul programs. Momentarily stunned by the accuracy of Dan’s tune-in, she exclaimed that she feels Dandelion medicine has the capacity to support participants in bringing visible their intuitive gifts, integrating them in mainstream practices, withstanding resistance with resilience, and adapting to whatever soil they grow in while seeding and spreading heart-centered regenerative leadership. In ancient times, dandelion roots in tea were drunk to aid in divination, psychic abilities, and prophetic dreaming.
Emily explained the fractal power of dandelion as described by Adrienne Maree Brown in her book, Emergent Strategy, “The dandelion flower head can change into a white, globular seed head overnight. Each seed has a tiny parachute that allows it to spread far and wide in the wind. The entire plant has medicinal properties. Dandelions are often mistakenly identified as weeds, aggressively removed, but are hard to uproot; the top is pulled but the long taproot remains. Resilience. Resistance. Regeneration. Decentralization.”
This image – of a dandelion seedhead bursting in the wind – became the unifying thread that wove through the second castle intensive. Instead of dark forces of destruction, what unfolded over the four days was more about art and regeneration. Our hosts’ visionary mantra, The Eye of All Art, met Seeing with Your Heart, and together we traveled to various dimensions where we discovered we are the soil, root, stem, flower, seed, parachute, and of course, also the wind.
Soon after we arrived, we learned that this castle was not built as fortress or military base. In contrast to Stirling Castle – which was hotly fought over through many centuries of bloody battles – this one (the new owners have asked us not to publish its name), was constructed as a sacred theatrical performance space, paid for with funds earned from Shakespeare’s last original play, The Tempest.
The Tempest’s lead characters are Prospero, a storm-conjuring magician and Ariel, a bi-gendered air sprite. The entire play is steeped in a mystical atmosphere created with exquisite visual imagery. It depicts the early 1600’s as a time of sea change, the great turning of the spiral of the ages, during which the male magicians converted to scientists and the female plant medicine healers were branded diabolical witches.
Four centuries later, we are living through another sea change, a great turning as momentous as the one that spawned global corporations and the Scientific Revolution. The structures that came into being then brought humanity unprecedented connection and abundance. Now they threaten to pollute and disrupt our planetary home beyond its capacity to support human life. If our species created these conditions, we are fully capable of responding by further evolving the paradigm of what it means to be human and how to live and lead in this radical time.
Our hosts share this vision. They invited us and the others to help re-birth the castle from a private estate to a community center dedicated to the Eye of All Art. During our four days together, the mythic beings, elemental spirits, angels, and ancestors guiding their way made their presence known. On this land, inside an actual structure from Shakespeare’s time, they pierced through the veil of materialism to anchor our brilliance and courage, inviting us to become a part of the chorus of consciousness evolutionaries. Their call is to maintain our human size and humility while contributing to something far bigger.
Multiple times, in dramatic moments that seemed almost staged, the wind carried floating dandelion seeds through the window. We encountered other motifs from The Tempest as the days unfolded. The real-life merchant ship that ran aground on an uncharted island in a freak storm in 1609 was bound for the foundering English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia. Ten years later, in 1619, the settlement in Jamestown was established and the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia to be sold to colonists. Soon after, the son of that merchant became the colony’s governor.
Our group traced these trails of genetic memory as we sought the source of healing and blessings for the descendants from these events who are riddled with judgment, fear, and shame while mistrusting their initiative and desire. We cannot fully receive the gift of life without digesting the inherited and lived trauma that afflicts the body and undermines the soul.
We set up Constellations that dove deeply into the global wounds of endless wars, enslavement, and exploitation. They begin with an expression of desire or intention and description of the barrier in the way.
- I hold myself back from success. There’s generational anger and trauma passed down through my maternal line.
- My partner and I are in a state of paralysis around bringing new life into this world.
- I have M.S and would like it to heal.
- I have a full-time job that I am afraid to leave and a passion for a new practice that I am afraid to pursue.
- I want to embrace my Venusian nature.
- After my father passed away, I lost belief in life, God, everything.
- I want to live from my inner artist. I’m tired of feeling I’m in battle.
- I want to discover what it means to be a healer, to sense the next step on my path to my purpose.
Each of these Constellations extended far beyond the desires of the individual and their immediate family system. They became portals to consciousness beyond the ordinary. A woman who recently had become the elder in her female lineage after losing her mother, spoke what seemed like every woman’s experience at one point or another… “I allow myself to feel silenced and dominated. I bow down to it emanating fear and caution. I’m going through life just fine on the outside, but inside, there’s a vengeance, a hatred, a judgment. It’s keeping me separate from who I truly am and from speaking my truth. I want deep connection and intimacy, yet my passivity is ‘a big fuck you,’ a murderous rage that boils in my female body.
The castle grounds include a stand of old-growth trees planted centuries ago. We opened and closed the intensive there. On our first afternoon, she laid her body on the roots of these trees and wailed as a Scottish man opened the portal with her drum. On our last afternoon, the representative for “murderous rage” traveled back to its origins to the beginning of time. By allowing ourselves to use our hearts for strengthening connection with the wisdom of ancestral presences, spiritual archetypes, and the sacred earth we renewed our capacity to harmonize with the rhythms of nature and constellate the field beyond the beyond.
In closing, we stood among these ancient behemoths, their roots anchored deep within the earth. This woman and man looked into one another’s eyes and found a way to give and receive fully with one another, to connect and experience the truth of “into-me-see (intimacy).” One last wave of white dandelion seeds floated by us on the summer breeze.
Intentions of the moment are like seeds on the wind looking to land on fertile ground. Beneath all intentions live deeper, universal desires: we want to feel at home on the earth. We want to feel that our existence has meaning. We want to embrace our lives. Our intentions are like the gnarly roots splayed out from the tree trunk above ground. They are on the earth’s surface but extend far and deep. When we feel rooted beneath our feet and bathed in sun and starlight like the tree’s crown, we can trust the wind to carry us home. There’s a place for you where the air will press itself into your lungs. When you breathe out, your voice can be enough.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS & EVENTS
If you are interested in working privately with Dan and/or Emily, we welcome you to 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.