Shadows from the Past

Shadows from the Past

During my recent travels have spent time in both Thailand and Cambodia. Both countries share the same Buddhist tradition, related languages and similar cultures – but this is where the similarity stops.

Unlike Thailand, Cambodia is a deeply traumatised nation and finds itself still in recovery from the infamous ‘Killing Fields’ that have scarred the soul of this nation during the three year rule of Pol Pot from April 1975 until 1979 – in that time an estimated 2.5 million Cambodians out of a total population of 8 million lost their lives through malnutrition, torture and in the death camps dubbed ‘The Killing Fields’.

During my stay in Cambodia I had a brief conversation with a young woman who was born in 1990, some eleven years after all of these events had concluded. I asked her when did Pol Pot lose power in Cambodia? She did not answer my question and her demeanour, energy and facial expression changed noticeably and instantly – I had stumbled upon her nation’s trauma and despite her being born a decade after Cambodia’s darkest hours of history, and her reaction was palpable.

Everywhere I went the scars of human suffering could be seen. Although there was much in Cambodia that was so like Thailand, the atmosphere was totally different. Desperate, aggressive and a lot of sadness was witnessed in the eyes of the people. This was not universally true, but present enough for it to be very palpable.

It was a timely reminder of the importance of Ancestral Healing and Family Constellation work. In my travels I have witnessed what I’ve called ‘the dark shadows of the past’ that have been cast upon the many nations I have visited in recent years – Argentina, China, Cambodia, South Africa – to name but a few.

So what of our own dark shadows? In Western Europe we are currently experiencing the longest period of peace that has been known for almost a thousand years. So what of the dark shadows that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lived under? Through Family Constellation work we can witness that many of us alive today still indeed live under the dark shadow of WWI and WWII. These tremendous wars during which so many lives were lost and so many atrocities were committed have also left the deepest scars on the nations of Europe, not least of which, the soul of the UK.

I was so struck with the immediate difference between Thailand and Cambodia and realised that those darker days ended some 35 years ago, for us in Europe, only twice that amount of time, a little over 70 years ago. So how far do these dark shadows travel? When working with events that leave a deep residual impact on the family and national soul we witness that the shadow can be cast for between three and seven generations.

These shadows can be healed when we have the courage to be happier than those before us and bow to their fate with deep respect. Additionally, as we engage with the family soul, healing opportunities arise for all concerned and each of us can feel the relief of that.

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