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Chancing Your Arm

The Irish-derived saying “chancing your arm” has a fascinating story behind it. 

In 1477 Gerald of the FitsGerald family in Kildare was made Lord Deputy of Ireland – a role that made him the British Monarch's representative in Ireland.

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The Butlers versus the FritzGeralds


The Butlers family of Ormonde, who coveted the position for one of their own, were not pleased and a bitter feud broke out between these two medieval families, leading to outright war.


In 1492, after a skirmish outside the city walls of Dublin, the Butlers realised they were losing the fight and fled, claiming sanctuary in the Chapter House of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. The FitzGeralds clan pursued them to the Cathedral, but then urged them to come outside and make peace. The Butlers refused, afraid that they would be slaughtered if they did so.

The Hand of Peace

Gerald Fitzgerald then ordered a hole to be cut in the door and, in a gesture of good faith, thrust his arm through the door, offering his hand in peace. With FitzGerald willing to risk his own arm by putting it through the door, the Butlers believed his intention was serious, and they shook hands.


The two families made peace once the Butlers emerged from the Chapter House, of which only the door remains today, and is known as the “Door of Reconciliation”.

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Chancing YOUR Arm

While the modern context for the phrase, "chancing your arm" is more like "pushing your luck", I'd like to stay with the original meaning and ask you: Are you willing to chance your arm and reach out to those who have hurt, betrayed or rejected you in the past?


Even if it is your wish to do so, this is very often not possible – they may have already passed, or be unwilling to reconcile from their side.

This is where Family Constellations can be helpful.

Through a representative, or even the facilitator, a client is able to open a dialogue at the morphogenic (soul or subconscious) level of a family system, where we are intimately connected - whether we like it or not. In this way, perpetrators can be held accountable; those who have been excluded can be acknowledged; and love/sadness/longing/guilt can expressed to those with whom we no longer have physical contact.

Prayers for the Dead

Being brought up in the Christian paradigm, I was always puzzled as to why we had to “pray for the dead”. Surely they are in “heaven” and at peace, not needing our interventions, I pondered. Well, through Family Constellations I have been able to experience what may be the some truth behind that practise.

Having represented scores of “dead” people in some of the processes we employ in our work, I have come to realise that not all Souls are at peace once they have crossed over. Some still seem to carry unresolved pain, regrets, feelings of unfinished business, and even some residual trauma if their departure was sudden or violent. It is as if they haven’t been able to “move on” fully.


I wonder if this is the origin of the concepts of “purgatory” and “limbo” that I heard about when being raised as a Catholic?

What I do know is, that when the appropriate healing sentences are exchanged between the living and their “dead” relatives, a remarkable peace descends on them, and one senses that they are indeed able “to move on” and – as we would say on this side – RIP.

(I put the word “dead” in inverted commas, as I firmly believe we don’t die and simply change frequency).

So, if there is unresolved conflict within your family and you are willing to “chance your arm” and offer a healing opportunity to the family system, you know who to call.

No, not Ghostbusters! 😊



Richard Higgins began his exploration of personal growth, esoteric and metaphysical subjects at the age of 21. During the last 45 years he has been exposed a wide spectrum of teachers and belief systems.


In parallel with his career as a film and television producer and director Richard studied the work of many metaphysical teachers, and has interviewed or met among others Neale Donald Walsh; Deepak Chopra; Diane Cooper and David Icke.


He has studied Gregg Braden's work; Drunvalo Melchizedek's Flower of Life teachings; and Gary Smith's Sacred Merkaba Techniques.  He learnt Shamanic work from, among others, Michael Owen of the Twisted Hair tradition, and with Incan Shamans from Peru.


Richard met J.Z. Knight and worked with Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment  both in Seattle and in South Africa. 


By blending the basics of Numerology, Creation Theory and Sacred Geometry, Richard has developed his own unique system called Transpersonal Numerology.

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After over three decades in the film and television industry, Richard closed his production company to devote himself full time to his Numerology and to Family Constellations - the work developed by German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger.  He facilitates workshops through his Family Healing Circle and also offers training in both modalities.


Richard lives with his artist wife Ronnie Biccard in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Individual Family Constellations Sessions

  • Group Family Constellations Workshops

  • Family Constellations Training Intensives

  • Individual Transpersonal Numerology Readings​

  • Couples Transpersonal Numerology Readings​

  • Transpersonal Numerology Workshops​

  • Metaphysical Counselling

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