I have recently come back from a dynamic and powerful ancestral journey to Africa to find out more about who I am and where I came from. If you do not know who you are, how can you know where you are going?
When I came back from Africa, I talked to my father about my journey and he was interested and happy for me. Born in Guyana during colonial times, people who wanted to advance didn’t talk about anything African, so he was pleased for me; ‘I know that you have been searching,” he said, I’m glad you’ve found some of what you were looking for.
The Tree of Forgetting
This picture was taken at the Tree of Forgetting in Ouidah Benin in January. It gets its name from the practice of making slaves that were leaving Africa to walk around the tree to reinforce forgetfulness of their homes, men 9 times and women 7 times. I am smiling because returning was a form of healing ritual and part of the process of ‘remembering’.
One of the things that those of us from an African diaspora background have lost, is our connection to ancient African wisdom. We have ‘forgotten’ who we are and where we come from. Part of the work of Ancestral Constellations, is to help us to ‘remember’ and wake up to the fact that we have lost something from our heritage, deep connection to our ancestors, to spirit and to nature.
Constellations Connect to an Indigenous Past
Many people who come to constellations work, regardless of background or ethnicity come from an ancestral line who have suffered greatly. In the shadow of this traumatic past, whether it be the middle passage of the slave trade, the impact of colonialism and Empire, of the ravages of war and suffering, it has affected who we are and often our family identity.
Over the past couple of years and especially the last few months, I have deepened my understanding of African indigenous wisdom and I am fore-grounding that in my workshops and one-to-one work. Constellations work can help to show those of us who are searching for identity and belonging, what has been lost and how to start to heal.
The Ancestral Constellations Approach
The Ancestral Constellations approach to systemic constellations as a healing ritual is constantly evolving. In the African tradition ancestors are part of family and community life, past and present. If you are reading this blog post you may be interested in exploring this approach further. When you come to a constellations circle or workshop, you are invited to reflect on your own ancestors and in what ways they may be trying to speak to you. Our Constellations Circles run on a monthly basis, find out more here!