Evan Bortnick http://musa-vocalis.de/
It’s tempting to believe that every development of human consciousness has something of a perfect fitness, which has allowed us, as humans, to evolve in ways perfectly adapted to our material, social, cultural and individual environments. While admitting that this is a valuable belief, I must also admit thinking that, in observing the typical foibles of the human state (including and especially, of course, my own); “…it ain’t necessarily so!”. Many species have gone down the road to extinction for the very reason that their strategies and decisions were simply too inflexible for the changing environment. This is true of our forebears, whether species-based or family-based. In the sense of Berne’s above quote, I’ve come to regard the formation of such imprinted life-conclusions at an early age and the subsequent resistance to their re-formation as just such an evolutionary inflexibility. What I find riveting about the birth of this working combination of Systems Constellations and Astrology is the ease and speed of the re-formation process.
I had a student recently who gave birth to a daughter. Within a week of the birth she asked me to say something to her about the horoscope. This is, for every astrologer, a touchy situation. I wanted to say something useful, without either scaring or prejudicing this young mother towards her newborn. What I saw was a Moon-Uranus conjunction. The Moon, as the active element in the 4th Archetype, represents nourishment, deep emotion, intimate sensitivity and, so often, at first, the mother herself. Uranus is the active agent in the 11th Archetype and represents perspective, distance, rebellion and the breaking down of antiquated structure. An exciting combination, no? So what I told the mother is that her daughter is wired, as symbolized in the horoscope, to seek closeness and emotional nourishment through distance and the need for emotional ‘space’. When she asked how exactly this would manifest itself, I told her I didn’t know and couldn’t know, but to be open to any and all possibilities. Three years later we met again. She told me that I had no idea how true my words had turned out. Her daughter seemed to move away from any hugging or closeness or physical intimacy like similar poles of two magnets. Still, she, the mother, felt the bond very strongly, and she felt the daughter felt it strongly too, which confused her, but which made sense when she thought about what I’d told her.
Fantasy film-cut to 20 years in the future. I have the daughter in session and we’re discussing her mother, as described in the horoscope. She reports that her mother never really held her, was somehow cold and withdrawn and that she, the daughter, was always confused and hurt by this withholding of affection.
The irony here is that:
1. — I was describing a moment in time,
2. — the mother was listening to a description of her daughter and
3. — the daughter (in the fantasy time journey) describes the mother.
So what exactly are we talking about here? All three are accurate symbolic descriptions. Yet this dynamic is experienced first by the mother as a quality of the daughter, then of the daughter, as a quality of the mother. A part of this story is fantasy, hypothetical, yet the principle and process involved is very real and eternally repeated. We’ve encountered Moon-Uranus connections more than once in these seminars. When the tensions described are confronted, they are invariably recognized as internal wiring, encountered early as familial deadlocks.
These archetypal tensions are somehow encapsulated as attitude and behavior qualities which accompany us until that time when we’re simply fed up. BEFORE, this feels like FATE. AFTER, it feels like FREEDOM and an old choice which can be made anew. The symbol, however, remains the same. Uranus is still conjunct the Moon. Pluto is still square the Sun. Saturn is still opposite Venus. The past has not REALLY changed (or has it).
Memories are not recalled in the same manner in which they are stored. They are informed and updated in recall by much more stored experience and knowledge than was present at the time of imprinting. We recall past memories always supplemented by the experiences and maturity of the present moment. The more we recall the same memory, the more that memory takes on the new coding we’ve given it in the repeated recall process. The triggers for the recall, associations and anchors, are updated as well. It is important to note that this re-coding and updating process exerts a strong influence on the memory itself, even if we’re not aware of it as such. So our memories are in constant transformation over time, no matter how convincing, authentic or ‘true’ they may occur.
So the good news is that this recall, this re-imprint, this re-coding of memory is quickened by encounter with the inner archetypes. The recoding feels, over and over, like a release of something old and worn-out.
Thus did our course “Parts Party of the Archetypes” have its birth. The miracle for us, as I’ve mentioned before was and still is how complete ‘rookies’ can repeatedly stand on an astro-glyph and utter sentences, sentiments, principles and affects so completely true to what we know of the archetypes that it takes our breath away. I still have not found a way to explain, understand or theorize about how this is possible without resorting to completely esoteric, zen-like and ephemeral vocabulary. It was tempting to want to believe, at first, for example, that these pieces of paper had become possessed with archetypal power which each individual, in turn, then ‘channeled’. For a while, I liked the idea that the simple symbolic power of the glyphs themselves, with their circles, lines, dots and curves contained within them, in condensed form, the essence of the archetypes, which was then transferred to the human standing on them. In some of these sculptures, I had the distinct impression that a magnetic field was forming around the individuals who were then forming words out of the magnetic vibrations surrounding them. I warned you it would get esoteric and way out! It became clear to me that I was basically grasping at straws in order to find a model or a metaphor which could rationalize this process phenomenon. Do I really need to do that? If yes, how come? If no, what remains as a principle concept for me?
The best I can say at this point in my understanding is that it is ‘as-if’ there are archetypes within us, which beg for contact and expression and which seem to use these symbols as an interface. What is actually going on? I simply have no idea. In terms of brain chemistry and hormonal balance; I am sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that things are changing through this process. In terms of social interaction; I am witnessing over and over and over again, in myself and in others profound differences after this work. In terms of the cultural field; participation (mystique and otherwise) has a deeply transfigured quality which all the participants notice and comment on. Lastly, in terms of subjective, individual consciousness; unfathomable and lasting modifications and adjustments have been reported by all and felt personally which have ramifications for the inner dream landscape, internal conversations, ‘felt sense’ and, most satisfyingly…a potent stillness out of which new possibilities emerge. That’s what I can most definitely report.
Paul Watzlewick tells an interesting story in his taped lecture: “The Therapy of “As-If”. A father had three sons and 17 camels. He left it in his will that the oldest would receive, after his death, 1/2 of the camels, the next oldest 1/3 and the youngest 1/9. After he died the sons discussed how this could be done without sacrificing one of the valuable camels and arrived at no satisfying conclusion. When a Muhla, a wise man, rode into town, he arrived at the solution. He would present the sons his camel as a gift. With 18 camels it was now possible to give the oldest son ½ of this; 9, the middle son 1/3; 6 and the youngest son 1/9; 2. 9 plus 6 plus 2 equals 17. The wise man then mounted his camel and rode away.
As much as I love astrology, its elegance, its history, its precision and its power, it is possible to regard both astrology and family systems constellations (and ESPECIALLY this new combination of both!) as the 18th camel. It presents itself, like a gift, is worked with, used as a catalytic solution, then rides off into the sunset, having achieved its purpose.
For more information about this creative process (in German), please see:
Evan Bortnick http://musa-vocalis.de/