Generational Healing

Generational Healing Through Deep Memory Release

The dream that had led me to Scotland (see entry June 26, 2007) had occurred several days before I had scheduled a “Deep Memory Process” session with Kathy Bornino, a counselor who lived in a community near Anna. I had contacted her on discovering she had been trained by Roger Woolger, a Jungian with whose writings and methods I was familiar.

The dream had not come up during the “deep memory” part of the “process” but later on. My discussion with her concerning the dream, together with what had played out in the session, would form my first clear understanding of how Bob and I would be working together in ways not too different than we had been used to.

The primary focus of my session had related to my knee surgery. The inquiry had been about the possibility of a genetic memory or pattern manifesting in this knee. Kathy suggested I focus on the knee and observe if someone in my family line came to mind. Right away I heard: “Great Aunt Helene.” At the same time I experienced a physical “witness,” or what is sometimes described as “a hit.” As instructed, I followed back through this ancestral line to a great (x4) grandfather. My maternal grandmother’s mother’s father had owned a brewery in Munich. Beyond that I knew nothing of my Munich ancestors. The ancestor in question would have been my grandmother’s great grandfather, at least as far as I can figure out.

Take what follows as you will, I will simply tell it as I experienced it:

On the screen of my mind I saw a battlefield. I identified the field as involving the Bavarian army in which my ancestor was serving. The time I guessed to be the early 1800s. However, none of this seemed important. What was central was my sense, my inner perception that this grandfather, as a youth, had here sustained a leg injury. But more crucial was that this scene was where an emotionally crippling trauma had unfolded with an impact sufficient to have affected future generations.

Among bodies, horses, blood and weapons, my ancestor knelt before a fallen friend who was a close and beloved comrade. He could have been a brother. I couldn’t be sure. But what was apparent was that someone he deeply loved lay mortally wounded before him. And onto my ancestor, so young himself, was falling the responsibility of putting his friend (or brother) out of his excruciating agony. So unbearably heartrending was this necessity that in carrying it out a fragmentation of my ancestor’s soul occurred. In an act of sheer survival, it was here that his capacity to feel shut down. Here his heart of flesh had turned to stone. And it was this emotional as well as physical crippling that had colored the psychic atmosphere in which my mother’s mother’s mother’s father had been raised.

Sitting in Kathy’s consulting room, I attempted to restrain my body from shaking as I was caught up in empathetic connection to this ancestor. For how long the shaking continued I’m not sure, but gradually my sense of calm returned. As it did the scene on the screen of my mind shifted. What had been more of a statuesque or “frozen in time” quality gave way to a reanimation of the figures. I saw the two—my ancestor and his friend—as having been set free and now both were trying to talk at once. My ancestor was begging forgiveness for what he had done. Attempting to interrupt him, his comrade was explaining that he had never considered the deed other than an act of compassion and love.

This, for my ancestor, was a startling revelation, and a re-perception that took a few moments to sink in. I then observed them embracing, with tears of profound release flowing freely, and from my eyes as well.

With this the matter seemed finished, nevertheless I wondered if there was something else I needed to do. But before I could think what that might be, Bob appeared on the scene and motioned to them to follow him. This they did with me observing as the three disappeared.

When I opened my eyes I was back in the ordinary reality of Kathy’s room. “You were really shaking,” she observed, and asked what at that point I had been experiencing. In other circumstances I likely would have given unrestrained expression to the intensity of the emotions that my ancestor had found it necessary to repress in order to survive. Actually, in a stifled interior way I had been giving expression to this. Simultaneously, I had been understanding that the crippling injury to his leg and a subsequent rigidity of this leg was matched by that to his soul. Was it possible that this psychic atmosphere in which my mother’s mother’s father as a child had been raised had something to do with the undiagnosed crippling of my great aunt Helene? or with the deterioration of my right knee? If so, does this suggest that an ancestral trauma of sufficient emotional impact can effect the DNA of an hereditary line, thereby passing onto future generations a particular physical tendency or vulnerability? Or who is to say but what in a hereditary line one person will bear the mark of a crippling trauma in the physical and another in the emotional body?

This was my first experience after Bob’s transition of doing “soul releasement” in partnership with him. Yet it was something that closely resembled work we previously had done together, but never so compellingly.

Kathy explained what she understood from personal experience of the advantage of the team work she saw Bob and I now able to undertake. What she explained was that the one who is in the spirit realm (Bob) has the greater advantage in seeing and knowing what needs to be accomplished. But this one no longer has access to the expression of emotion, whereas the one still in a physical body (me), is able to pick up on the emotion and, more importantly, able to give expression to it for the soul or souls of those held captive by the trauma.

A further insight for me is that negative and misperceived emotions can be as binding to the emotional body as strong ropes are to a physical body, and their removal as equally dependent on the empathetic compassion of a third party.

As my two-hour session with Kathy was concluding, I related to her my Scottish Regalia dream of several days before, (see previous entry). Out loud I wondered if its possible relevance was to my son Robert’s move to Scotland. The discussion then turned to Kathy’s interest in Scotland, particularly Edinburgh, as a place where more “witches” had been put to death than in Salem.

Besides visiting Robert and Diane in their new home base, I was wondering if there was something else on my Glasgow agenda. The answer would be “Yes,” but the nature of this would not come to light until my next Deep Memory Process session which would be shortly prior to leaving for Scotland. It would involve a visit to the Special Collections Library at the University of Glasgow where I would have the rare opportunity of pouring over a number of 16th and 17th century alchemical manuscripts, in particular a group of twenty images in the Rosarium collection. How or even if Generational Healing and Alchemical Symbolism are related I have yet to find out.

About ann

When Bob and Ann Elliott purchased their sixty acre Murray Creek property in 1974 their purpose was to establish a retreat center for Inner Healing. This was the beginning of Creative Living Center and later the home of CLC Press which gradually evolved into an on-line means of sharing what they were learning and experiencing about the processes of becoming whole. Ann was born in 1929 in Holden, Missouri. Her parents were both journalists and co-published the local newspaper. They had met in Mexico City where her father was on assignment for a Washington DC newspaper and where her mother was doing advanced studies at the University of Mexico. When Ann was six they separated and she moved to Kansas City where her mother began a long career in radio and television. In high school Ann was sent east to Penn Hall in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. And that is where she met Bob who was attending Mercersburg Academy, the nearby boy's prep school. Bob was born in 1927 in Washington, DC. His mother had been a librarian in Hammond, Indiana before coming to Washington during World War I where she met his father, a young Marine who became an attorney when the war was over. Bob attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington through eighth grade and went on to Mercersburg, and from there, near the end of World War II, into the army. The war over, he began pre-law at Northwestern where Ann was studying journalism and doing secretarial work for her mother who was then Woman's Editor of American Broadcasting Co in Chicago. In the fall of 1947 Ann and Bob were married and the following spring left for Stanford University where Bob finished his undergraduate and went on to earn his law degree in 1952, by which time they were expecting the second of what would be their six children. During Bob's years at Stanford Ann studied and worked in the field of design. This led to her interest in symbolism, and the study of symbolism awakened her interest in spirituality, a combination that led to an interest in Jungian psychology at about the time Jung's writings were beginning to appear in English. It was through the writings of Christian Jungians such as John Sanford and Morton Kelsey that Ann became interested in the psycho-spiritual approaches to inner healing. Eventually she would connect with the three grand women founders of the San Francisco based Guild For Psychological Studies, all of whom had studied with Jung in Zurich. Together the three--Elizabeth Boynton Howes, Sheila Moon, and Luella Seibald--had established the Four Springs retreat center in Northern California where they conducted seminars based on "The Records of the Life of Jesus of Nazareth" according to a modified Socratic method. Ann participated in the Records and other related seminars at Four Springs during the 1980s. In the meantime, Bob was equally involved in pursuing his special interest in music as a means of furthering and deepening meditation. He was also studying shamanism with Michael Harner and the Institute for Shamanic Studies, and with Ira Progoff through his Intensive Journal Workshops. All this time, of course, he was carrying on a busy law practice in Lodi, California, some forty miles commute from Murray Creek. From 1984 until his retirement in 1998 Ann served as Bob's legal secretary. Ann, with both of her parents writers, had been writing off and on for a number of years, with numerous writings on symbolism published in magazines and journals, as well as two books on the use of symbolism in Christian education. In 1996-7 Parts I and II of Return to the Whole were published on the C G Jung Web Page, and this was the beginning of web publishing for Ann as a means of sharing the synthesis of ways to inner healing and wholeness she and Bob had experienced and been sharing throughout their years at Murray Creek. With their retirement in 1998 Ann began writing and editing full time, with her in progress "opus" being the series titled Return to the Whole, and including the full length book titled Higher Ground, offered here in its entirety. In 1992 Ann learned she was eligible to "test her vocation" as an Anglican Franciscans and after an inquiry and formation of some five years was, in 1997, professed. These are the TSSF initials that follow her name--The Society of Saint Francis--and for which order she now serves as a formation counselor. Additionally she is a Benedictine trained spiritual director and serves in this capacity also to whomever is willing to make the narrow, winding trip out Murray Creek Road.
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