What We Learned From Nature Constellations
On Saturday, June 25th, I offered my first Nature Constellations workshop at the Learning Pavilion of the Land Trust of North Alabama. The intention of this workshop is to bring people closer to Nature in simple ways, and to find ways of dissolving the fears that we have about Nature, to return to an understanding of what our place in Nature is as human beings.
We explored some existing relationships with Nature in simple ways, seeking answers to questions such as: what does my yard want and need? What are the right plants to plant as a screen to my neighbors?
Our constellations were simple; for most of them, I posed the question and the representatives I thought we might need, and then I simply asked for volunteers who felt that they already represented that concept or face of Nature.
Here's what we found:
Every Baby Step toward making connection to Nature is welcomed. A baby step can be as simple as refining our awareness so that we can even be thankful for the air! Our constellation taught us that the act of saying, "thank you" for each breath is important. Cultivating awareness for all of the gifts that come our way from Nature in each moment is so important.
We facilitated a constellation about our Fear of Nature and how we might resolve it. The representative for "the energy which dissolves the Fear of Nature" reported that she consisted of calm, open-minded curiosity coupled with sufficient information for safety. She also reported that too much information began to lead her back toward fear.
One very surprising thing happened in one of our constellations: we were exploring the relationship between older "Grandfather" trees, saplings, and trees that are bought and planted, and other beings that live in a typical yard, such as squirrels and mycelium in the ground. When I began to step into the constellation as "a typical human", there was an instant recoil from all representatives; I was literally pushed out of the working arena! Re-entering the constellation by representing, "a human who has awareness of all other Beings as 'People'" allowed me to enter easily and without any push-back. What we found is that some of the fear that we experience while in Nature is the fear that Nature is expressing towards us, not we towards Nature! Most Indigenous peoples of the world have this concept, which we have lost, of "the People", that is, that we live among many, many different kinds of People: the Tree People, the Stone People, the Water People, the Bird People. Certain languages, like Potawatomi, have no word for "thing", only the word for "people." This is where the idea behind the phrase, "All My Relations" comes from.
The importance of "the awareness of Nature as composed of *people* rather than *things*" came up over and over again in our constellations on Saturday.
The Land, this place where we live, holds imprints of what has happened on it in the past. We did a constellation about the Trail of Tears, since Huntsville is one of the places through which the Removed People were marched, which showed us many things:
- the land remembers, and holds the ancestors of those involved
- the Ancestors involved will not leave until their stories are known, until the land can be cleared of these imprints
- the people living on the land NOW, i.e. us, are heavily affected by the lingering sadness and shame and unfinished business of those events as those who were displaced or killed during the removal itself; the representative who stood for "the people living on the land now" in our constellation got a splitting headache just standing in that position.
Via constellations, we saw that the guilt and shame around these kinds of historical events of injustice seem to fall equally on the ancestors of both the perpetrators and victims alike. This is something seen over and over again in big historical constellations like this one; the mechanism is not well understood but is repeatedly observable.
We also saw something similar in the day's first constellation that had to do with wholesale removal of "natural resources" of the Land on one of the mountains in Chattanooga: the mountain knew that "something (big) had been removed", and the person standing for "the people who lived there now" were adversely affected. When we increased awareness, awareness of this event, both the mountain and the people were strengthened and felt some ease.
We learned that the Deep Pachamama, the part of the Earth mother who is farther away from this geopolitical layer on which we live, is not much ruffled by these things. She is stable and firm and OK, no matter what.
We are all affected by these energies and Fields of past and present events. Awareness that we, too, are inextricably connected to All of our Relations here in Nature can help us (and Nature!) be less affected by them.
One of my intentions for this workshop was also to find ways in which we, as regular people, can connect more deeply with the Nature that is just outside our doors. The traditional way of doing this is through sacred offerings. Indigenous wisdom tells us that sacred offerings are very, very potent, indeed, and are the ways in which we humans give back, in turn sustaining the Beings of Nature. But how do we do this in a good way? Most of us in our modern culture know little or nothing about how to make a good sacred offering!
So, we did a constellation to find out :-) I asked that people represent the essential parts of a sacred offering, and to step into the constellation when they felt that they were drawn their by their hearts and their bodies. As representatives began stepping in, a beautiful and simple picture began to emerge: the essential keys to a beautiful Sacred Offering are:
- pure, open-heartedness; asking nothing in return
- touch; touching Nature is essential
- sweetness; flowers, beauty, sweets, sweetness of spirit
- wine (this surprised me, as this is a traditional essential ingredient in Andean offerings; I didn't expect it to show up here!)
- continually cultivating the awareness that Nature Beings as People rather than 'things'
- bringing our spiritual experiences during offerings into concrete reality so that others can see, hear, and touch them. Literally bringing our mystical experiences into the world in material form. That was VERY important!
Our day was very full. There was so much more! It has spurred me on to hold a Nature Constellation workshop much more often; there is so much we have forgotten that nature can remind us.
What we took away from this amazing day of conversations with Nature were very simple things:
- go outside. every day! Your body is made up of molecules straight out of the Earth in the form of your food, after all! You are literally made of the Pachamama, made of the awesome!
- touch things.
- if you are afraid of something, allow your curiosity to activate: what is it that you are seeing? how does it function? where does it live? what color is it? Calm curiosity dissolves fear.
- open your heart and give concrete gratitude to the Nature that is right here, right now; touch a tree, smell a flower, say a spontaneous poem to a cloud. Give a little wine to the earth. Leave a piece of candy or something beautiful! (biodegradable, please)
- Rejoice in the simple things like the life-giving air that comes into your lungs, recognizing that this gift of life came from your brother or sister, a green photosynthesizing plant.