A man was very concerned about the Syria situation, both the fighting and refugee crisis, and wanted to set a constellation for cultural healing. It was August 2016 and we were at a conference near San Francisco. Initially I hesitated because none of us has a direct connection to the Middle East. At his heartfelt insistence, I agreed. The themes we uncovered are universal.
He asked to represent Syria and I invited him to enter the circle. Then another representative volunteered as Ground of Being and lay on the floor holding the feet of the Syria representative.
Two more representatives added more support. One for Divine Love attended to Syria from a cosmic level. A representative for Harmony gestured kindly around Syria’s body.
Then Syria said in a voice full of pain, “I’m feeling tense and under attack. I feel like I’m bleeding from the conflict.”
Divine Love recalled, “I remember that I was offering loving energy from a divine source. I also remember there was a realization that outside forces were involved and had their own agendas. Both sides felt they were being used.”
Then Syria had a sudden understanding that the conflict couldn’t be solved by Syria alone and shared, “I must expand to include the entire Middle East.” And so he became the representative for the Middle East.
Uncovering Ancient Divisions
Yet a terrible feeling remained unresolved. Middle East continued, “ISIS feels like a dark black cancer eating away at my flesh.” Then as facilitator, I noticed an actual zig-zag line down the middle of the sweater the representative for Middle East was wearing. When I pointed out the line, Middle East talked about the ancient and bitter conflicts between the Shia & Sunni groups of Islam.
To help bring clarity, I invited Middle East to imagine one hand as Sunni and one hand as Shia. He did this. From there, I added a representative, so that Middle East could represent one group and the additional representative the other group. (I don’t remember who was Sunni and who was Shia.)
Now Shia and Sunni stood facing each other, with obvious hatred and animosity. Divine Love started feeling wobbly. Together Divine Love and I re-clarified her role and Divine Love resumed a generous and strong loving position. Ground of Being and Harmony were both still there as well.
With that, things shifted even more and the tribal representative who was originally Syria/Middle East stated, “These two branches of Islam must reconcile and recognize each other as legitimate.”
A representative for Western Europe entered the field. All the representatives noticed a shift in the dynamic to a larger holding and witnessing. Though Western Europe didn’t speak often, her impact on the constellation was profound.
Finding Unity and the Potential for Cultural Healing
Gradually, Shia and Sunni discovered their common roots and affirmed this to each other. Their faces softened with the hatred dissolved. I noticed the tension in the room changed into a feeling of deep and expansive healing love. Then their eyes met in kindness, with respect and dignity between them.
The moment highlighted the potential for cultural healing if we are willing to be open to new ways of seeing.
Ground of Being remembered, “In the end, I, as the Ground of Being, had a very, very strong sense that the war will not be resolved until the people recognize they are all from the same tribe (side). In the constellation, it was my intense feeling that all the soldiers were on horseback and, despite their current viewpoint of differing sides, their horses’ hooves all pointed in the same direction! I am not sure that I fully articulated this feeling to the group. At the end of the constellation, I felt calm.”
She wondered if the others benefitted from her experience, as she hadn’t had a chance to articulate it at the time. I was struck by how her recollections matched the shift we witnessed between Sunni and Shia and the deep loving awareness that permeated the room.
It’s important to remember, whatever our culture or religion, we share a positive, forward-moving potential. Together in community, we can face obstacles and bring reconciliation, love and dignity more into the foreground. Working with cultural healing constellations helps us do this. The times we live in call for it.
Return to How It Works. All stories shared with permission. Names and personal details changed to protect confidentiality.