Systemic constellations is not exactly the first aid kit you bring into a war zone or a traumatic situation that is currently in flames. But if you have space and time to take a step back, there are some practices for peace and justice suggested by a systems thinking worldview. 

Anti-war marchers in St Petersburg protest against Putin’s decision to authorize a military operation in Ukraine. Photograph: Anton Vaganov/Reuters

What to “do” with helplessness

When bombs are literally falling, it is hard to know what to “do” and many people come up against feelings of helplessness.

Systemically, feeling helpless is the place of the “smaller” one; in a family system it is the place of the child. Taking the place of the adult is to accept that there is currently no good move we can make. In some situations it is true that there is nothing we can do. At times like this the right move is to take our place in the powerlessness, to endure it without asking it to be different.

Powerlessness has a purpose, it has something it is trying to do. It is showing in what direction life is moving now. The more you can accept your own powerlessness, the more you can let go of old ways of being and acting that are no longer serving. From this place you can reemerge with new ways of being and new actions.

While we are in the place of powerlessness, we can also think about those who are disempowered and vulnerable, and if there is something we can do for them. To show our love and care in this way is no longer powerlessness, even if it does not change the situation directly.

Sending resourcing 

After donating what you can and sending messages of support to people you know personally, you can also send prayers and well wishes to the archetypal resources. It is a self-organizing principle that when you call on these resources, they know best where to direct the flow of wishes for safety and wellbeing.

For Ukraine many are now directing their prayers to Mokosh, the traditional and ancient goddess of the earth in that region and St Michael the Archangel, the winged protector of the sky.

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How old is this war?

To see this war as part of a living system, we can trace back in time “where did it all begin?” What are the many conditions that led to this moment?

Stop the war within

You can also work with the way previous wars are still being played out within your own consciousness. Do you feel more connection with the perpetrators or of victims?

There are no wrong answers. We all carry both the conquerors and those who were conquered within our family system and within our consciousness. Are you able to look with equanimity at the victims? the aggressors? This can serve as a guide to who within our own consciousness is not yet at peace.

In almost every systemic constellations we see that excluding a person or group from a social system always has consequences. For this reason we should be paying extra attention to the way any one group is being excluded or vilified. We cannot hope to do the work of peace building if we cannot see each one involved in their dignity.