Case Study

The Clever Idea of Money

The Emergent Future and the Emergent Past

My wise friend and Systemic Constellations colleague Diana Claire Douglas (, shared on a recent call that, “in a collective constellation, if I place a representative for the emergent future, I also place a representative for the emergent past … The emergent future is connected to the emergent past.”

I found myself immediately looking to apply her insight. What follows are my reflections.

In a personal system, our intentions / emergent future can become stuck. Healing often reveals a hidden / emergent past contained in the stuck energy. The emergent future becomes activated through a reconciliation and deep honoring of what was and what is. Perhaps we can say that healing is connecting to the emergent past.

The Clever Idea of Money – A Time Travel Constellation

As I continued to reflect on this notion, I was brought back to a small group constellation I did about 2 years ago. Our topic was “the clever idea of money” and we used a structure I call the Time Travel Constellation. This is a structure where we choose representations, and then tune into these representations over a few rounds, each round representing a different time period.

The intention that brought us together was our desire to make sense of money. We wanted to see if we could understand money as nourishment and abundance, rather than tension and scarcity. There were four of us on the call, and the elements we represented were: Earth, Life (feminine), Life (masculine) and The Clever Idea of Money (which I called the ‘thought form’ at the beginning of the call). We moved through four different time periods: “Before Money,” “The Birth of Money,” “2000 years ago,” “Present Moment” and “The Healing Movement”.

I’ve included a rough transcript below, but before I send you off to review it, I want to connect what we learned to Diana Claire’s insight:

Money’s Emergent Past

In the Clever Idea of Money Constellation, the Emergent Past that was revealed was the original, life-serving, function of money. The Clever Idea allowed resources to be accessed and shared beyond local tribal boundaries, and this new tool for distributing resources brought benefit to all and peace between communities.

What we saw was that by 2000 years ago, disconnection, extraction, abuse of power was established.

In the final, healing movement, The Emergent Past is the seed for the Emergent Future. A restored connection to Life has been generated – but, also, something new and beyond. Something truly emergent in the sense of being greater than the sum of the parts.

Thank you to the participants Marianne Connor, Doug Breitbart and Twila Smith Halloway for your beautiful work on this call.

Below is a rough transcript of each round of our Time Travel journey.

Round 1: Before Money

Earth: Life was exponentially growing in the exchange between me and the clever idea of money.

Life / Feminine: no separation between myself and earth.

Life / Masculine: connection – connection to tribe, to co-habitance with all living things. A collective commons – centered, aligned. The motivation/desire to contribute.

Clever Idea of Money: I was sitting on something cold. I had a sensation of Mother Earth in partnership with the clever idea. It was a Mother/Father dynamic: Mother – Earth, Father – the Clever Idea. I felt an expectancy – that Earth and The Idea would generate Life – and I felt a responsibility to the Life that I had generated.

Round 2: Birth of Money

Earth: My children see that the network of value can extend beyond their tribe. It’s still connected to value of tribe, but if the resrouce is not local, it can extend beyond tribe. Connected to me, creating more conncetion, peace and prosperity. Exponential, virtuous cycle towards life. Exchangea nd trade was all about relationship. You couldn’t screw someone over because you knew you’d need them again. Connection grew. There was no idea that “money made money”.

Life / Feminine: I was fully connected to Earth. I saw Earth and Masculine Life and felt very good. When The Clever Idea came in, it was disorienting. I didn’t understand the Clever Idea. I was confused by it. There was attention on it – and I just didn’t get it.

Life / Masculine: It became easier to exchange value. I was aware that scarcity wasn’t there, power / authority / control – they were not present, The Clever Idea was just a help, but it held no intrinsic value independent of exchange of things of value.

Clever Idea: Very simple. I turned around to face the past, the man and the woman – and became a protective hoodie. I was protective and warm. I still had the earth – but I wasn’t concerned as I was in the beginning. In the very beginning I was in partnership with the earth, like a marriage, but after the Yes, I became protective of the masculine and feminine Life. The Clever Idea Protected Life.

Round 3: 2000 years ago

Earth: Heavy, patriarchy, power. I felt bowed. I saw my children destroying each other. I was very much in the midst of empire building, and the destruction of my children. Death, destruction, drunk with power. How did this happen? I was in grief. They felt like younger kids in the first two. I so wanted to nurture them towards independence. As a Mother, I felt where did I go wrong?

Life / Feminine: I also felt bowed. My only relationship was to Earth, but the earth was just dust. The only thing I could hope for was the relief of my suffering. I felt incredible pressure on my shoulders, felt myself being forced. The only thing I could ask was my suffering to be relieved.

Life / Masculine: Trial, fear. I was absolutely alone. No connection or sense of field.

The Clever Idea: I immediately fell to the floor. I felt like a beast of burden, a camel or ass. I was aware of my surroundings. I was on the floor, like I was in service to the lovely rug, and life was on my back. I had no relationship to the earth. You were probably under the rug. And then I had to go to the bathroom – I, too, was seeking release.

Round 4: Now (present time)

Earth: (took several minutes for Marianne to return) Grief. Heartbreaking. I’m wishing to die because it’s so heartbreaking and yet I still hope for something else. I don’t know where any of you are.

Life / Feminine: Tremendous confusion. Nauseous, head spinning. I was lying back – and a state of disconnect. Reaching out – wanting to connect. Reaching out to other humans – like it’s the only way I know life is another person. Sex showed up – grasping / groping for contact with life. Shows up in social media, in hooking up. As if the only outlet or contact that I, that this aspect of life could relate to was to try to connect to another human being. It had no way of relating to earth or other aspects of life. All of these layers of disconnect had already been built up. It was a a very desperate groping. A dark, heavy, confused space. All I could do to not be…falling into a heavy state of darkness / confusion.

Life / Masculine: I connected to hope and possibility. A knowing / belief / faith in me as one of an untold number of imaginal cells all around the world. We’re birthing a new order, and birthing is bloody, messy, loud, chaotic. But that’s what came up for me. And also a resignation to the fact that the earth was going to be okay. if we push this, we’ll be gone, but the earth will survive and recover, and start over again with or without us. That was part of the “I don’t know what the outcome is.” I don’t know what the outcome is – but putting shoulder to the wheel and being “one of.”

The Clever Idea; I felt compelled to run around room with all of this crazy energy. Drawn to the area by the door where I have some of my sacred tools, and there was my peace eagle wing. which was donated to me when he was hit by a car. And the medicine of the beaver wand, a symbol of changing course, of recycling, of seeing beauty in refuse and garbage. Same as the road kill / vulture / peace eagle, which most would have seen as road kill.

Finally, I noticed a shift in traditional perspective. Feminine reaching for sex / comfort, masculine was experiencing / acknowledging the pain of birth. I felt this juxtaposition of the switch of traditional masculine and feminine. Switching – as the garbage / treasure. These beautiful things came from the earth but weren’t extracted from earth. It was really powerful for me.

Round 5: The Healing Movement

Earth: I felt like the bad ass mama. I’m getting out of this abusive relationship. A warrior spirit came not – not “war mongering” but taking a stand for myself. If you’re not here for life, you’re off the planet. If you’re not here for life, if you’re death dealing, you’re gone. When you said bring in the Yes, I felt a warrior army. All of the forces for life, even beyond the human. Life giving consciousness – all Beings here for Life are with me. A Life-Giving No – like setting a good boundary.

Life / Feminine: I noticed – I was still thinking about sex. I was genuinely wondering about the attachment to sex. And as I sat with that, it allowed me to go back to the first tune in- about Life. So it was lovely to see that what felt like an empty grasping…tho it wasn’t empty…more that when you’re in a state of emptiness, life still pulls you forward. So (in that previous round) sex was grasping. The Healing Movement brought me into sacred connection to sex, life, earth.

When the Yes came in, it brought me, after spending time in the expanded space, it brought me into descendance. It was a loop – sourcing from the future and also sourcing to the future. A very powerful connection. Everything came back into the Field. All of the experiences we’ve been through – and the last movement, the grasping, transformed – and the moving into the future – sourcing from and sourcing to.

Life / Masculine: What came up for me was a feeling / knowing / sense of connection and coherence. It was very much the other side … things were restored to where they wanted to be. And feeling at the center – feeling a part of that. I was no longer alone. I really feel a part of.

Life / Feminine: Restoration. I would say that was a part of my experience as well.

The Clever Idea: when I fist started entering into this space: grief, a noticing: the computer mouse. The tools on the table. I felt a little like a sentinel of some sort, standing with my tools. But also…a hoodie – you know how in the beginning I was a protective hoodie? Now I was a fur hat. A Russian fur hat – a square one? “A fur hat?” I said. And I got back – “yeah, you lose most of the heat from your head.” It has something to do with being out in the cold?

~We ended our process after this round.~

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