Collective Ancestors

In a narrow sense, our ancestors are our relatives with whom we have a blood relationship. In a broader sense, it also means joint relatives from earlier times, from which we descend collectively – as humanity, nation, community, population group.
In the article ‘Our ancestors, who are they?’ you can read about the Ancestors we have a blood relationship with. This article is about our collective ancestors.

Online workshop: Monday, May 16 – 19.30 – 21.30 – Amsterdam time – Systemic Ritual – the collective ancestors – read more about that: https://systemic-ritual.com/2022/05/01/collective-ancestors/

Register: https://systemic-ritual.com/online-workshops-introduction-to-systemic-ritual-and-familyconstellations/

If you are familiar with the four directions, you can give these ancestors a place on the Wheel. In general, our ancestors are in the direction of the North. In this direction, we can find again a complete wheel with four types of ancestors in each direction.

East – the collective ancestors of practical ideas

Here we find our collective ancestors who discovered something important that we still benefit from today. For example, people who invented fire, invented medicine, electricity, train, aeroplane, and computers. We can meet here various teachers, inventors of tools and things we use.
However, in this field, we don’t only meet our collective ancestors that invented valuable materials. In this field, we also meet people who formulated essential theories in psychology, philosophy, and sciences, for example. These thinkers developed ideas that still influence how we look at the world. These people have shaped our lives. They have made the world a little more comfortable.

South – our biological ancestors – personal

Our biological ancestors gave us our bodies, our biological blueprints. We are in the world because of them. Read more about this in the article: ‘Our ancestors, who are they?’.

West – the collective ancestors of the dreamworld

We can also call them the ‘Ancestors’ from the world of myths and dreams.
These are the people we meet as guides and friends in dreams, in stories, songs, books, and mythology. They are made from dreams, we can meet them when we dream, and they create dreams.
They are ‘characters’ that have come to form a collective dream or concept, for example, Gandalf, Greek gods or goddesses, etc. These characters help us dream, help us to use our imaginations and help us hope for a better world.
In that sense, they belong to the West.
They can serve as role models in our daydreams and reflections.

North – collective ancestors of spiritual traditions

These are “ancestors”, guides and teachers of our spiritual traditions. They have kept the lineage alive and passed the teaching on. We can meet Jesus or other saints who shaped Christianity in this field and teachers from other traditions: Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Rumi, Gandhi ….. . Gurus, shamans, Christian saints, Tibetan lamas, rabbis etc. all belong here.
It may be that we came to a tradition through birth, or we may have met later in our life a tradition that inspired us and for which we made a conscious choice.

An individual practice

Take as the ‘focus’ of this exercise your work, or the work you would like to manifest.
Then think about the Ancestors of the East – the inventors. Which ancestors of the East can help you?
Then think about the Ancestors or the South – which biological ancestor can help you?
Do the same for the Ancestors of the West and North.

While doing this exercise you will probably experience that one or two directions are very developed and one or two are less clear or strong. What does this mean for you?

Inspired by the teachings of Daan van Kampenhout

Spirit Animal Helpers

I am fond of animals. Because I care for them, I don’t eat meat since I am 16 years old. Dairy I only take from biological farms (and yes, I know even that is not entirely fair). I really detest the way animals are treated in our society for human consumption, clothing or labour. I don’t want to be a part of that.
I feel connected to animals – not only because of they are ‘cute’, but for most that we can learn from them and that they can be our guide, that helps us to explore our inner and outer realms. Animals as teachers and messengers from the guides in the unseen realm.
That animals can be our guide is known for aeons within shamanic and other cultures. In indigenous cultures around the world, shamans journey into the spirit realm, sometimes referred to as “non-ordinary reality”. The spirit realm co-exists with our earthly physical one. The beings in the spirit realm don’t have physical bodies. So we can’t see, hear or contact them with our ‘normal’ senses. But we can communicate with them. At night, when asleep, we sometimes journey into the invisible realm to receive guidance from spirit entities. We can also visit them through a “Shamans journey”.
In my work with Systemic Ritual – I contact them and ask for their guidance and healing by setting up representatives for the animal helpers.
Different animals embody their own unique qualities and powers that they can lend us when we need them. 
There is a link between spirit animals and animals that share the earth with us. We can see it in the unique characteristics and powers that are common to both the physical animals and their spirit counterparts. So observing intensively the physical animals can help you to gain access to their qualities and powers.
Whenever you have a particular need or interest, consider the attributes and characteristics of different physical animals. These reveal the powers of the spirit animals and help you select the one(s) that can best help you whenever you have a specific concern.

In my work with Systemic Ritual (a variation of Systemic Constellation Work), I work a lot with the following animals. I describe some aspects of these animals: qualities and powers I see most often. Of course, there are more qualities and strengths of the same animals – when met in a Systemic Ritual it will show itself and the message that is needed at the moment.

I invite you to meet them.

Eagle
The eagle is a bird. Birds can fly; they are familiar with the air. The air element represents the mind and such things as heightened awareness, intellectual development and wisdom. Birds, as spirit helpers, can show you how to increase your mental powers and abilities. Birds like the eagle and the owl – have excellent vision. So they can help you to see things around you more clearly. 
The eagle flies high – so he can help you to create some distance from the things that concern you and look at them from above, from a helicopter view. So you can explore the structures around the theme that occupies you at the moment. 
The eagle is also able to zoom in – his eyes are like a telescope. From a height of 3 kilometres, he can read a newspaper ;-). So first he explores the whole landscape and then focuses. (He is a hunter – you know!) In this way, he can give you an answer to one of your needs.

Owl
Like the eagle, the owl is a bird and helps with seeing more clearly. The owl is an animal of the night – so his power is also in ‘seeing in the dark’ – meaning helping you to look at your shadow aspects and unconsciousness or helping you to see the things that are hidden.

Salamander
The salamander can live in water and on the earth – as long as the environment is humid. The earth element represents physical or material qualities. As spirit animals, terrestrial creatures can help you handle matters related to work, money, health and other practical concerns. The water element represents emotions, intuition and creativity.
The salamander can regenerate his limbs. If he loses one, it will grow again. So he has an enormous self-healing power.

Parrot
The parrot brings in the quality of free expression and communication. He is playful and likes to make noise. The parrot can help us to manifest ourselves without feeling limited in our expression.

Dolphin
Also the dolphin can bring us freedom in expression, playfulness and our ability to be curious – our need to discover, our openness to what is, without prejudgments. Because of the element water, the power of the dolphin has more to do with emotional expression and creativity.

Snake
The snake has a female aspect – he is connected to the Goddess in some ancient cultures and he moves in half circles on the ground. The snake also has a male aspect – the snake can erect himself upwards. So the snake can help us to balance our female and masculine qualities. 
The snake is also connected to our sexual energy and can harmonise that energy.  Also is the snake the symbol of wisdom, of healing wisdom – even nowadays it is the symbol of Medicine Art.
The snake can help us with skin problems. He knows how to release old skin and replace that for new skin.

Horse
The horse can give you power and vitality. Horses can live solitary, but a horse preferably lives in a group. Female horses, as well as male horses, can be group leaders. The horse can help you to take responsibilities and help you to find your place in life. 
In my work with Systemic Constellation, I often see the quality of the horse in grounding, in standing on both legs.

Peacock
The peacock teaches you how to be proud of the things you have achieved and how to embrace and show to the outer world what you have achieved. To present yourself in a positive way.

Vulture
The vulture eats what has already died. He eats what is no more necessary in your life, what you can put aside and let go. Cleaning up, diminishing ballast.

Bear
The bear sleeps in wintertime. Animals that sleep in winter teach you how to go inwards and step into the dream world, into the depth, into the unconsciousness. The bear digs and makes the roots of trees visible. So he has the power to make our essence visible – the essence of your soul being.

Turtle
The turtle is often called grandfather or grandmother. The turtle is one of the oldest animals that live on our earth. So it carries enormous wisdom of life in itself. The turtle is friendly and warm.

Reindeer
The Sami call the reindeer the ‘gentle ones, the soft ones’. The female, as well as the male reindeer, has antlers. Their antlers reach towards the stars, towards the ancestors. The antlers are like a stair. A stair that can bring you up and down to the sky, through which you can contact your ancestors and the universe. When the help of ancestors is needed, I call in a representative of the reindeer.

Swan
The swan symbolises androgyny. The feminine and the masculine dissolve in the being of the Swan. The polarity disappears. The swan is the protector of the soul. Like the young ones on the back of the swan in the physical world, the spirit Swan protects the soul of sick and traumatised people and brings the soul to safer places. I call in often the spirit of Swan in my work with Soul Retrieval.
The swan can also bring deceased souls to the other world. The swan has a strong connection with the ancestors and the angels. The swan is very serene, brings peace and balance. But even then – if necessary – the swan can defend himself powerfully and knows how to set boundaries.

White spider
The spider can be a healer of the nervous system. The spider creates its own web and also eats its own web. The spider can take away old structures and patterns and weave a new pattern or structure. He helps with breaking off limiting thinking patterns and replacing them with more helpful thoughts.

Recommended, source:

http://www.animal-respect.ch/spirit-animal-helpers-i/

Life after the retrieving of soul parts

In the article ‘Soul loss and soul retrieval’, I wrote about soul parts that have separated from our body and personality at some point in our life. Such a secretion leaves a void, a reduced vitality. Systemic Ritual is one of the methods to get back in touch with those parts and let them come back – if desired.

And what happens after a ritual in which soul parts are retrieved?

After a soul retrieval, you often hear people say that they feel ‘more present’, ‘lighter’, ‘more alert’, ‘less dreamy’ and ‘stronger’.

If you want to learn more about Systemic Ritual and working with the concept of the Soul: See:

Often people also report that they perceive colours more clearly, hear better, and smell better. In short, the connection with the physical body has been improved.
This can cause slight disorientation for a few days. The ‘healing’ has yet to settle down and find a place.

You often also hear these ‘side effects’ after a family constellation. Breaking free from an entanglement with a parent or ancestor, with which the method of family constellations works, is somewhere also a form of ‘retrieving a part of the soul’. A soul part, held by an entanglement, could not be fully present in the here and now because it was too closely connected with the trauma of that (ancestor) parent. In that context, this part was on the other side. When the entanglement is broken, that soul part can retake its place in the here and now, in the body/personality of the client.

Be careful

People are often more emotional after a soul retrieval. With the retrieval of the lost soul part, sooner or later, the memory of the event that made the soul part ‘flee’ may also return. That is why you must also be careful with retrieving soul parts after major trauma. The soul part that has thus gone ‘to the other side’ cannot simply be ‘placed back’. There will first have to be some form of healing of this soul part before returning to the client. The soul part may even have to be taken to a ‘healing place’, a kind of spiritual hospital to receive care and healing there before returning.

In addition, the client must also be strong enough to ‘handle’ and ‘care for’ the soul part that is being retrieved. A client must therefore have sufficient strength to receive the soul part again. It must be safe enough for the soul part to return.

Welcoming little Susanne

After retrieving a soul part, feelings of happiness, sadness, or anger can arise. These feelings could have to do with the lost soul part, and the process of remembering and integrating has to start. And that can take quite a while.

I came across the little two-year-old Susanne in a visualisation during one of my ‘retrievals’ (it is not strange to be allowed to undergo several ‘retrievals’). I saw images of her in a beautiful forest with sweet cats, horses, birds, lots of flowers, extensive lawns, streams with clear running water and even two gnomes – Bop and Mieke as the little Susanne called them. The little Susanne had “hidden” in this beautiful place. And no – she didn’t want to come back.
Several times – spread over a few weeks – I had to visit her, become friends with her calmly and convince her that it was also very nice to come back to the here and now, in my body, in my personality. She eventually did.

Welcome home, little Susanne

Then for days, I felt a wave of enormous anger towards my mother and towards my oldest brother. I could skin them. I was sure it had to do with little Susanne and talked to her. I asked her what was going on.
That’s when the memory came to me. I was two years old, and my brother (5 years old at the time) was playing with me, but it got out of hand. He put a pillow on my face and lay on top of it. I choked, I choked. Then, after a few moments, my little body managed to throw him off me with unprecedented force. An unparalleled power of a small body – it managed to survive. I saw my brother startled and he ran away.

I realised this, back then, was the moment a piece of my soul left. I felt panic and fear rise in me. And then anger – I was furious with my brother and my mother. My brother for what he had done and my mother for not taking good care of her children. Where was she?

I told little Susanne that she’d survived, that she’d been strong enough to throw brother off her. And that these kinds of things are not nice, but can happen and that you can not blame a little boy of 5 years.

These words turned out to be completely wrong. This was not what the little Susanne wanted to hear. This did absolutely no justice to her feelings. These words were disrespectful, lacking in empathy – completely bypassing her feelings of fear, panic, anger and sadness. These words made her return to her safe haven with Bob and Mieke in the woods.

Again I had to find her there. This time I stayed with her, feeling the fear again; we relived the panic, cried, and cursed on brother and mother. We managed to thank the unparalleled strength that appeared back then. We realised it wasn’t ‘I’ who managed to throw off my brother – it was my body’s survival instinct that managed to do that.

These emotions persisted for several weeks. My brother should be glad he didn’t call or meet me in these weeks. I would have given him the full blast of anger.

Integrate

After a ritual in which soul parts are retrieved, you are not done yet. A piece that has been separated from you for years needs time to integrate. That part needs all your attention, wants to be heard, seen and respected. That can be done in different ways.

As I described above, you can regularly start a conversation with the retrieved soul part. If you don’t have experience with this, find a therapist who can help you.

Pampering yourself is also a suitable method. The soul part has left because of a lack of joy, safety, etc. Show this soul part that there can now be joy, safety by undertaking things that underline this.

Bodywork – massage, emotional bodywork, shiatsu, acupuncture – methods that get the “chi” flowing again can be of great help too. Traumas are stored in your body. When a soul part is back, your body can also adapt, and physical blockages can finally be released with a little help from a therapist.

soul retrieval 3 tekening Susanne Hazen (2)

Drawing – the drawings in these articles are my own. After a return of a soul part, I created these – completely intuitive. One drawing shows what I felt. I felt as if a ‘body’ sank into me.
The other drawings show how I took care of the soul part – by travelling with it regularly – in visualisations – to a safe, beautiful and warm place to have quality time together.

soul retrieval 2.tekening Susanne Hazen

After severe trauma, the first thing to do is consult a psychotherapist or psychologist until there is enough strength to do a session in which soul parts are retrieved. After that, a therapist can again be helpful to integrate the retrieved soul part.

soul retrieval 1.tekening Susanne Hazen

Inspired by:

Ingerman, S. Soul Retrieval. Mending the Fragmented Self.

Notes from Daan van Kampenhout’s courses

Soul loss and soul retrieval

In shamanistic traditions, it is stated that parts of the soul can separate from us and that this separation, this loss of soul parts, can be a cause of physical and mental illness. In this context, by soul, I mean an intangible part of our being that gives us vital energy and houses emotions, memories, feelings, sentiments. (This idea of the soul is similar to the concept of the astral body – as described in the article “The Five Bodies”)

Lost parts of ourselves mean that we experience less energy/vitality because there is less ‘spirit’ in us due to the loss. A ‘full soul’ is fully present, clear, radiant. We unconsciously try to regain the lost parts through dreams, daydreams, quests for healing, spiritual disciplines, and by creating relationships with others that repeatedly mirror our lost soul parts.
This search requires a lot of energy, while we already lack power because we have lost parts.

Parts of the soul can be lost due to various circumstances. These do not always have to be extreme circumstances.

Examples through which soul parts can ‘depart’ are:

  • You are too busy and lose sight of your soul
  • The soul gets bored because you “don’t live it.”
  • Souls can get jealous and then go to a ‘better place.’
  • Difficult situations “It’s not fun here anymore, so I’m going to a better place.”
  • Trauma, including abuse, loss of a loved one, miscarriage, abortion, surgery, accident
  • Sudden and extreme shock/fear
  • Parts of the soul can also be ‘stolen’ by someone else.

Symptoms or expressions of soul loss are:

  • Lack of vitality and connection with life
  • The feeling of being ‘absent’ after, for example, the death of a loved one, an accident or after an operation – the feeling of still being a bit in the anaesthesia
  • Feeling after a divorce that ‘a part of you is still with the other person.’
  • Feeling of dissociation or depersonalization
  • Can’t remember a situation
  • Chronic depression

In shamanism, there are methods to bring the lost soul parts back to the person. This technique is called soul retrieval. Also, with the Systemic Ritual method, we can contact lost soul parts and help bring them back. After a soul retrieval, you will experience more connection with life, the earth, yourself and others.

For ONLINE and LIVE workshops and courses, see: workshops-and-courses-online-and-live/

Inspired by:

Ingerman, S. Soul Retrieval. Mending the Fragmented Self.

The Wheel of the Souls

In the article “The Multiple Soul”, you have read that shamanistic traditions assume multiple souls. In my work, I distinguish the family soul, the tribal soul, the individual soul, and the universal soul. You can give the souls a place on the Wheel of the four directions, and the Wheel tells something about the development.

The Family soul

A baby cannot be born without a father and a mother. With this fact, the baby becomes a member of the family system.
A baby comes from the spatial, formless, timeless and nonpolar direction of the North; actually a gift from the ancestors whose place is also in the direction of the North. The North-East point in the Wheel is the moment of conception.

If you want to learn more about Systemic Ritual and working with the concept of the Soul: See:

A baby comes from the spatial, formless, timeless and nonpolar direction of the North; actually a gift from the ancestors whose place is also in the direction of the North. The North-East point in the Wheel is the moment of conception.
The child gets to know the polarities, rules, norms, values​​, and concepts about the world and life in the family.
The child adapts to that because he needs protection and structure, just as a body needs bones. Adapting to the rules, norms, and values makes the child belong to the family and feel safe.
In essence, the family soul narrows our space. This is necessary to be able to participate in the world later on.
At some point in adolescence, the family system feels too limited. At that moment, the child starts to rebel against the parents, the so-called individualisation. It is a fake individualisation because the family is replaced by peer groups. Friends come, and the child starts to adapt to the accompanying subculture of these peer groups with their rules and limitations.

The tribal soul or collective soul

Joining a community is a necessary and logical step. Belonging to a group is needed to function in the world. It is a law of nature that you are more powerful as a group than as an individual. Therefore, when you join a group, you experience more safety and power.
The group forms a unit by the grace of excluding others. As a result, polarities arise – we and them. To have a sense of being part of a group implies that there are outsiders. Sometimes it concerns minor differences, such as dress codes.
There are ‘hard cores’ in the tribal soul. Groups that only look inward, cannot or do not want to enter into a relationship with other groups. Dialogue is not possible in that case.
This hardcore does not allow individuation. The hardcore does not tolerate dissenting opinions or behaviour from its group members. We know this from religious communities, but the same thing happens within football clubs and other associations or between political ‘camps’.

The individual soul

In time the individual member, if the circumstances are well enough, develops and matures. At one point, he/she will experience that the tribal soul also becomes too oppressive. The group member starts to feel different in some aspects and wants to find his own values.
This entails a whole process. We are programmed to survive, and that works better in a group. If the chances of survival (physical and mental) allow it, the individual can grow further.
In humanistic psychology, this is called self-actualisation. In Jungian psychology, it is referred to as the process of individuation.

The universal soul

It is paradoxical, but while maturing in the individual soul, the realisation will come that you are a universal being; one with all there is.
Ultimately, by observing your being, you arrive at the deepest core of your being. The identification with your body and personality disappears. That structure is released and transforms into a sense of unity with the whole. That is timeless, formless, unconditional, awareness of the equality of people, animals, plants. Here there is no more experience of polarity, no personal identification.

Multiple souls

Photo:
Design: Alma Mekking
Paintings by: David Ridley

Every culture and religion believes in a concept of the soul or whatever it is called. There is a belief that we are more than our body and that we also have a soul, which continues after the body’s death and returns to where it once came from.
In shamanistic traditions, it is believed that we do not have one soul, but several souls as human beings. The ideas about how many or which and how they are called differ per culture.
In this article, I make a distinction between:
– the family soul
– the tribal soul or collective soul
– the individual soul
– the universal soul

If you want to learn more about Systemic Ritual and working with the concept of the Soul: See:

This classification is based on the work of Daan van Kampenhout and is also described in his book: The tears of the ancestors.

The family soul

The family soul becomes visible during a family constellation. The family forms a system, and everyone within that system is interconnected. Every person in a family is connected to all other relatives. One also remains connected with those from the family who have been excluded or rejected. Everyone carries the energies within the family. This means that if a disturbance occurs, for example, an accident or an untimely death of a family member, it will affect everyone in the family and efforts will be made to compensate for this disturbance. This often happens because one or more family members take on a burden that does not belong to them. They help carry that burden out of love and loyalty to the family.
The sickening thing about it is that one cannot bear the burden of another. One is only strong enough to carry one’s own burden. This mechanism is called entanglement. Entanglements within a family weaken and disrupt or obscure the deeper order.
A family constellation makes the entanglements, conflicts and tensions of a family visible. These are energies that often unconsciously determine the course of affairs within a family. A constellation usually also shows the way to the solution of the problem.
The family soul can also be called family karma.

The tribal soul or collective soul

We are not only part of our family system but also of several collective fields. These collective fields are not connected to each other. The boundaries between tribal fields are strong and aim to remain intact. This is called the tribal soul or collective soul.
Each tribe that defines itself in words of “what we have in common” and “in which we differ from ….” has formed its own tribal soul. As a person, you are usually part of different tribal souls. Think of: possessing a nationality or coming from a certain region, being part of a religious community, being part of an association, being part of a school, etc.
Within a particular ‘tribal soul’, certain aspects of yourself come to the fore more than others. For example, you work at a bank, and in your spare time, you immerse yourself in shamanism. You probably don’t show that side of yourself at work. And during seminars on shamanism or other spiritual matters, you may not want to say that you enjoy your job as a bank mortgage seller. This is the impact of the ‘tribal soul’.
A tribal soul disappears after the group falls apart. Some tribal souls are very powerful – think, for example, of nationalities and religious communities.
There are ‘hard cores’ in the tribal soul. Groups that only look inward cannot or do not want to enter into a relationship with others. These hard (i.e. fundamentalist) group cores do not allow individuation, i.e. this hardcore does not tolerate dissenting opinions or behaviour from its group members. We know this from religious communities, but the same thing happens within football clubs and other associations or between political ‘camps’.

The individual soul

This is the part of ‘I as an individual’ – autonomous, independent of others. Your values ​​and truths, your personal experience are the most important for you here.
If you believe in reincarnation, you might add that this is the part of your soul that appears, evolves and leaves again and again at different times in different places on this earth.

The universal soul

This is the deep realization that we are universal beings, one with the whole—timeless, formless, equal, absence of ‘I’ and absence of the polarities.
This is also referred to as ‘the great soul’ by Bert Hellinger. At this level, everything and everyone is connected.

Inspired by: Van Kampenhout, D. Tears of the ancestors.

The veil between the material world and the ‘other world’.

We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors.
African saying.

It is said that around the beginning of November, the veil between the living or the material world and the world of the deaths /gods/saints/spirits or the ‘other world’ is at its thinnest and that on these days, contact with the other world can be most easily accomplished.

Roots

The first week of November is when the sun is halfway through its (apparent) course toward the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. There the sun ‘arrives’ around December 22. The sun is at that moment the furthest away from the Northern Hemisphere. Early November is on the Wheel of the four directions the moment where we move from the West to the North – actually the beginning of winter. The boundary between West and North is also the boundary of the living and the deaths. The West is the place of the elderly; the North is the place of the deaths and the immaterial existence.
We see that at the beginning of November, the transition from the direction of the West to the direction of the North is central. Hence probably the idea that the veil between the two worlds is paper-thin at this time. At least this applies to the Northern Hemisphere. It is different in the southern hemisphere (sun in the North). And that will be different for countries between the equator and the tropics.

Various myths tell about this, and traditionally different cultures have rituals that have to do with ‘the other side’ in this period. For example, the Celts and Germans celebrated festivals like Samhain these days. Likewise, it’s the time of Halloween, All Saints’ Day (November 1), All Souls’ Day (November 2) and the Dia de Los Muertos (Mexican Day of the Death). All these celebrations have the same theme, namely the commemoration and tribute to the deceased.

Samhain

Altar

The ancient Celts and Teutons celebrated the beginning of winter and the new year around October 31 – the exact date differed by tribe and region. The celebration of Samhain (Celtic New Year) traditionally begins at sunset on October 31 and lasts for three days.
Since – according to the Celts – during this period the division between the world of the deaths and our world is paper-thin, the Celts believed that the deaths are present in our world during Samhain. So it is the best time to commemorate and honour the deceased. The ancestors are welcomed during this festival with fires outside and inside the hearth fires. On Samhain, the table is set again for deceased family members. A plate with a napkin is placed on the altar to welcome the deceased and food is placed on the altar. Food can also be left outside for the deaths.
However, it was not a sad feast but a joyous feast with amusement, entertainment, food, and drink. During Samhain, the life of the ancestors is celebrated, and they become involved with the living. The ancestors are consulted and receive not only food but also gifts. Actually, a very nice way to deal with the deceased, to honour their place and to process their loss.
It is not only a celebration to honour and commemorate the deceased, but a celebration of all spirits and nature spirits. They also show themselves during this period.
Around this period, the harvests is brought in and stored. Some of the cattle are put back into stables and some are slaughtered to add to the food supply needed to get through the winter. The slaughtered flesh was also offered to the Gods, nature spirits and ancestors.
Therefore, Samhain is also a closing harvest, slaughter festival, and thanksgiving to the Gods, nature spirits, and ancestors for the harvest obtained.

Halloween – All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Evening.

Halloween is associated with the Samhain festival. Irish and Scots who immigrated to the United States and Canada in the 19th century took the Halloween celebration with them. Today it is ‘celebrated’ by almost everyone in the US and Canada and has also been ‘blown’ back to Europe.

Wintertime

All Saints and All Souls

All Saints Day – November 1 – is a Christian holiday. On this day, all saints are commemorated and venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. During All Souls’ Day – on November 2 – all the deceased are commemorated.
At the beginning of November, there was also a ‘holiday’ in the agricultural sector in the Netherlands. That was a day of thanksgiving for the harvest. This took place on the first Wednesday of the month.
Until the beginning of the 7th century, All Saints’ Day fell on May 13. But to gain more acceptance for Christianity among the people, the festival has been moved to November 1. By celebrating the Feast of the Departed Saints on November 1, followed by the All Souls’ Day on November 2, these Christian festivals blended more easily with the original traditions of the people. Moreover, that made it easier for the church to “win souls”.

Dia de Los Muertos

In Mexico and, to a lesser extent, other countries of Central America, the Dia de Los Muertos takes place at the beginning of November. A 3-day festival in which the deaths are commemorated and honoured. This festival has its origins within the Central American Indian peoples.
In many aspects, it resembles Samhain. Here too, it is not a sad event but a joyful celebration. Altars are made for the deceased, on which food, drinks and gifts are placed. Life is celebrated both indoors and outdoors – in the cemetery. There is singing, eating and dancing.
Initially, this festival took place in early August. Under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, this festival was ‘moved’ to the beginning of November to coincide with the Roman Catholic Remembrance Day.
Early August is an interesting time for Central America. Around June 21, the sun is perpendicular to the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. For Central America, that is the North. At the beginning of August, the sun is almost perpendicular to Central America. Then the sun moves south again. From the beginning of May to the beginning of August, Central America has the sun in the North. Then the sun shifts south again. Initially, that was the moment of the Dia de Los Muertos.

Systemic Ritual with Ancestors

Overall, the month of November seems to be a suitable month for ancestor rituals and contact with souls. I participate in that by giving an ONLINE workshop series of 5 Saturday afternoons: Systemic Ritual with family themes and ancestors (basic)
This series starts on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m. Dutch time), November 6, 2021 and consists of 5 ONLINE workshops.

For more information and registration, see: /systemic-ritual-with-family-themes-and-ancestors/

Inspired by:
https://www.middenamerika.nl/mexico/reisgids/feesten-dia-de-los-muertos/
https://www.beleven.org/feest/samhain
www.nightofartemis.nl
http://samhain.heidensweb.nl/geschiedenis.php
https://www.middenamerika.nl/mexico/reisgids/feesten-dia-de-los-muertos/
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

Ancestors

Our ancestors – who are they?

In a narrow sense, our ancestors are our relatives with whom we have a blood relationship. In a broader sense, it also means joint relatives from earlier times, from which we descend collectively – as humanity, nation, community, population group. This blog is about the first definition – the family.

Deep connection with our ancestors

OUR history begins before we are born. We represent the hereditary influences of our race, and our ancestors virtually live in us.
James Nasmyth

The field of our ancestors has a lot of effect on us. The family’s energy field – the blood bond – is strong enough to influence descendants for generations. In this field are the relatives who have produced children and those who died young or remained childless.

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Imagine you are the green square. Your father and your mother are behind you. Behind it are your grandpas and grandmas. Behind it are their fathers and mothers – 8 of your ancestors. Behind it are their fathers and mothers – 16 ancestors. Behind them their fathers and mothers (32) – behind them 64 ancestors and behind them 128 ancestors. Realise that you could not be on this Earth if it had not been for one of these 254 ancestors. How does this make you feel?

I was born by myself but carry the spirit and blood of my father, mother and my ancestors. So I am really never alone. My identity is through that line.
Ziggy Marley

Empower or disprove

We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.
Paul Tsongas
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Suppose you have two children. They will have 2 children of their own. You are their grandma or grandpa. These children will also have 2 children of their own. And so on. That means after 7 generations, you will have 254 descendants. How does this make you feel? If you realise this, will you make other choices from now on?

Suffering of ancestors

Life has its joys but also its traumas. Traumas can continue for a long time – even in descendants generations later. These are major traumas – miscarriages, abortions, divorces, children who died, mothers or fathers who died early and left behind young children, alienations, loss of home, having to flee, forced migrations, victims and perpetrators of all forms from abuse of power (from rape to slavery), war traumas ……….

Ancestors who have experienced these kinds of things have to deal with it even after death. Even after death, they still need healing. Therefore, in many cultures, there is still the idea that ancestors need prayers and rituals to bring healing, after which they can join those who have already found peace. In a healed state, they also need not have a weakening effect on the descendants.

Tuning in on ancestors that give strength

Fortunately, it is not only traumatic experiences stored in the field of our ancestors that can affect us. Many good experiences are also stored in that field. We can connect with that to experience wholeness and strength. When the line to ancestral power is open, life takes on direction and meaning, and we can handle difficulties – which are therefore experienced as a challenge rather than a problem. Strengthening ancestors are usually ancestors that are at least two or three generations away from us. They have already healed the wounds of their lives and can transfer the life force pure. You can tune in to these ancestors. This idea comes from shamanism. The concept of strength is central to shamanism. When someone does not feel well, a search for power sources is needed. People can connect with those power sources to strengthen themselves. With that power, they can then take the next step in solving their problem to feel better again.

These were my sources of power for this blog: Van Kampenhout, D. (2001) Images of the soul. Van Kampenhout, D. (2007). Tears of the ancestors. https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voorouder https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/james_nasmyth_316729?src=t_ancestors

The White Spider and the mental body

(Photo: The Spider = from the PsychoMotion Methode Reflectiekaarten
www.psychomotion.nl/producten/)

In the article ‘Five bodies or our being‘ you could read about the different bodies.
In this article I describe a Systemic Ritual to support the mental body. You can perform this ritual alone or with others. In this ritual, the White Spider is used.

The mental body
The mental body can best be described as a structure that makes thinking possible. So it’s not the thinking or your thoughts themselves. It consists of channels and structures that determine how dreams, thoughts and associations are processed. The actual expression of the thinking process is done by the personality, the ‘me’ or ‘I’.
We find strong patterns in the mental body. Patterns consist of an automatic link between perceiving, recognising and feeling. The mental body has created paths that link past events, beliefs and emotions and lead to “automatic” responses.
Some of these automatic ‘responses’ or conditionings may be unfavourable for you and deeply grooved.
It takes practice to get rid of these destructive paths and put new ones in their place. So IT IS NOT A ONE TIME PRACTICE, BUT A PRACTICE YOU HAVE TO REPEAT AGAIN AND AGAIN.

The White Spider
The Spider can eat its own web. (That is a West aspect, cleansing) She reuses matter. Concerning the mental body, she can remove old structures and patterns. The Spider also can weave a new pattern or structure for you. (That is an East aspect).
She is also called Grandmother Spider or Crystal Spider.

A ritual to ‘heal’ patterns in the mental body

Take a seat in the centre of the wheel. You look to the South.
In the West (to your right) invite (in your mind or a representative) the White Spider that eats unfavourable paths.
To the East (to your left) invite (in your mind or a representative) the White Spider that creates new paths.

Ask the the Spider in the West:

“White Spider coming from the West. Certain patterns don’t serve me anymore. I ask you to help me get rid of these patterns.”

The White Spider in the West says:

“I am the White Spider who can break down, eat up, unfavourable pathways in your mental body. I help you to let go of what is no longer good for you at this moment of your life. I come from the West.”

Aks the Spider in the East:

“White Spider coming from the East. I want to replace old patterns that are not beneficial to me with new patterns that work better. Will you help me with this?”

The White Spider in the East says:

“I am the White Spider who creates new pathways in your mental body. I help you attract what is good for you at this moment in your life. I come from the East.”

And then you sit there for about 10 minutes – with a rattle or a drum or meditative music or just in stillness.
In these 10 minutes, you keep the image of the two White Spiders active. You repeat the sentences regularly. Just let happen what wants to happen.

You can repeat this ritual for a few days as long as it feels good to you.

The four directions

The four directions as a compass for your path of life.

The wheel of the four directions – also known as the Medicine Wheel – is a model from shamanic cultures. The wheel teaches you that there are always four perspectives from which you can look at things. The four views are derived from the four directions: North, East, South, West.
Each direction has its own specific qualities, and each direction supports the other three through its characteristics. The four directions belong together; they form a whole. They work together in a complementary way.
The wheel of four directions can thus bring order. It is a helping map that can bring insight at different levels – the mental, emotional and soul level. It shows you in which direction your qualities lie, where you are deficits, where you can gain strength, where you can find balance.

The wheel of the four directions forms the basic ground plan within which a Systemic Ritual takes place.

The direction of the East

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For courses and workshops see: https://systemic-ritual.com/working-with-systemic-ritual/ There are many ONLINE opportunities. t

The East encompasses the qualities of renewal, contemplation, perception, oversight, orientation on the world around us. Suddenly having clear insights is an eastern force. The East is uninhibited (like a child). Another quality of the East is the ability to regenerate – the East power provides recovery, renewal, “rejuvenation”. Because the East has the quality of being able to perceive sharply – perceiving both the detail and the whole – it also has the power to add structure.

The energy of the East is most present in the spring, in the morning, at the waxing moon.

In our personal life, it is the period of childhood. In the Northeast, the baby is born, and in the Southeast, the adolescent enters the adult world. The East knows the curiosity and the lust discovery drive of the child and the teenager.

The “East person”

People with a highly developed East qualities can be people who have many ideas and/or can oversee structures well, can create conditions, can explain things well to others, can change things quickly and easily. When you have highly developed East qualities, you are clear, you have an overview, and you are good at planning.
The East has few emotions. “East persons” can therefore appear a bit cool. An “East person” is not the type who gives or wishes to receive a long and firm hug.
An East person is future-oriented. This is the opposite of the “West person” who is nostalgic.

Unbalanced East qualities

When the East qualities “overshoot” or when the qualities of the other directions insufficiently balance the East, problems arise.
When there is too much focus on structure, this can be at the expense of the other qualities of the East: open-mindedness, creativity and the ability to improvise. Obsessive and compulsive behaviour shows the pathology of the East. Structures take on a life of their own.
Unbalanced East energy can also cause someone to “drown” in ideas. One idea to another arises, but the vision, planning and structure are missing. And nothing is ever done with all those ideas. Or worse, something new is always started up, but never brought to full implementation (the South). In severe form, this can be harmful to someone and his environment and lead to debts, among other things. Such kind of person can start to lie to others to keep himself unguilty not my fault, everyone and everything worked against me, but next week I will have … or I promise you that the next week …… ). In the case of lying the qualities of being creative and being able to see and think of new possibilities are used in a destructive way. Someone with such an unbalanced East energy is incapable of taking real responsibility for his actions and does not get access to the qualities of the South.

The direction of the South

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The South encompasses the quality of maturity. The energy of the South is most present in the summer, in the afternoon, at the full moon.
In our personal life, it is the period of adulthood. That is the period in which we take on our responsibilities as adults. These include: starting a family, making a career, earning money, providing a roof over your head, belonging to a group (colleagues, sports club, a circle of friends, etc.) |
The qualities of the South are: take action, carry out, persist, persevere, communicate. The South is concerned with the physical manifestation. The South has also the quality of communication. It’s about interacting with the people around you. This is expressed in friendliness and cooperation, but also in friction and conflicts. The South has extroverted energy.

The “South person”.

When you have highly developed South qualities, you like to be physically active. You always want to be busy, and that includes chilling out with the people around you, good food and a drink. Sensory experience is vital to a “South person”, as is contact with others.
Hobbies that suit the “South person” are hobbies where there is a lot of contact with others – this can be collaborative or competitive – and where physical activities are central. Think of team sports, but also conducting political debates, for example.

Unbalanced South Qualities

When the South is too active for a long time or insufficiently compensated by the qualities of the other directions, problems arise. For example, someone becomes hyperactive, cannot stop his activities, takes on too many responsibilities and eventually burns out.
The focus on the other can also get unbalanced and become an obsession. Then you will cling too much to someone else, and if you do not accept the boundary that the other indicates, you could well be called a stalker. Your desire for connection is entirely out of proportions, and the result is the opposite.
Also, too much attachment to sensory experience can lead to dependence or addiction. And that can happen in all kinds of areas: alcohol, drugs, nicotine, sex, gambling, shopping… .
Unbalanced South energy can also lead to dominating others and even abuse of others. Or even the opposite – wanting to be dominated.

The direction of the West

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The West includes the qualities of completion, evaluation, contemplation, letting go, cleansing, discharging, being in touch with the inner world of emotions, needs, desires, values, desires. In the West we get rid of ballast, of the superfluous, so that the essence becomes visible.
The energy of the West is most present in the fall, in the evening, with the waning moon.
In our personal life, it is the period of ageing. Children are about to leave the nest. (Grand) parents die. Questions like “is this all”, “is this what I want” come up. The West is the inner world – what are my wants, needs, values. It involves coming to an acceptance of how things have gone, an acceptance of how you did it and how others contributed to it, and thus an acceptance of others and the world as it is. The West eventually brings us to old age, and eventually, we die in the North West.

The “West person”

When you have highly developed West qualities, you will intensely experience the world, accompanied by intense and deep emotions.
Things are released in the West, which means that there is a lack of structure and more chaos and confusing situations can arise. This can sometimes manifest itself in being unable or unwilling to adhere to generally accepted norms and values, rules, agreements, plans.
The “West person” “thinks in images and his inner world and feelings are central. The West person has more contact with the past.
Hobbies that suit the “West person” are hobbies where he/she can come into contact with his inner world: painting, poetry, writing, reading, meditation….

Unbalanced West energy

When the West energy is too active or is insufficiently balanced by the qualities of the other directions, problems arise.
The West is where things are released, where you sometimes can’t control your emotions and lose control. That can sometimes happen. If all goes well, we manage not to let it go too far and cause too much damage, and we manage to stop ourselves. If all goes well ……. If not, then this aspect of the West is disturbed.
An imbalance of the West can also make a person make things worse than they are – continually complaining, whining, being annoyed, and drawing everything to themselves. There is no longer an eye for new and stimulating insights. The West aspect of the breakdown has become the only reality for anyone.
Not being able to let go can lead to feelings of resentment and hatred – two emotions that are destructive to oneself and the outside world.
The West is also the place where psychosis arises, disintegration, degeneration. No distinction is then made between images from the unconscious, fears and physical reality. The sense of reality has disappeared.

The direction of the North

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In the North, peace, doing nothing is paramount. Just BEing it, pure consciousness. It is the place where all experience, yours and all other souls who have dared to tread the wheel of earthly existence, is collected. Where all experiences crystallize and combine in great wisdom. The personality that you had/were in earthly existence has been dissolved.It is the place of the departed souls, of our ancestors. We were born out of the North, and we’re going back there.

The “North Person” 

People with highly developed north qualities prefer to keep their distance and tend not to get fully involved with the things that are happening around them. They prefer to view from a distance in order to gain wisdom.”North people” will enjoy meditating. Meditation feeds the north energy.

Unbalanced North qualities

When the north strength “overshoots” and/or is insufficiently balanced by the qualities of the other directions, problems arise.It is entirely normal and healthy to withdraw from others every now and then. When contact is continuously avoided, it is no longer healthy, and there is unbalanced north energy. The demand for peace and stillness has then gone too far. There can also be a loss of contact with the world because someone is only busy with spiritual matters. There is no longer any good conversation possible with others.Another form of unbalanced north energy is dissociation. The outside world is no longer felt and participated in; it is no longer really consciously perceived or experienced. The world can also be experienced as unreal.

Sources:
Daan van Kampenhout – The four directions

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