Making Sense of the Ancestral in the Constellation
Little has been researched or written about the ‘Ancestral’ aspect of constellations theory and practice. After more than seven years of learning this approach and travelling my own healing path, I have understood as a woman of African heritage that I have to step out and step up. That means naming what this work is from an African perspective, the ‘Call’ to the Ancestral path.
When you follow the path of African spirituality and ancestral work you come to realise that our ancestors are with us in the living world. We remember them and in African cosmology, we honour them. Just as many people in the West do when they visit their family members graves and talk to them, what is the difference?
AWAKEN to Your Heritage!
If you look at a ‘Call’ to ancestral practice as an awakening to your ancestral heritage, it becomes a journey of family work and self-understanding. The Ancestral Constellations approach honours our ancestors and frames constellations practice as a Healing-Ritual. And African traditional spirituality is a very inclusive philosophy, so regardless of your background, culture, colour or religion, there is a place for you in the work.
At the beginning of a workshop or group session, we seek the permission of our family ancestors to do this healing work. We can ask collectively because this work is a community ritual and we can ask individually prior to doing a piece of personal work. In acknowledging an ancestral presence we honour their role in the healing process that is unfolding and we strengthen the process as a community ritual.
The Family and Community Soul
This important because we are working at the family and community soul level. Many of the personal issues that are carried from generation to generation are family or personal traumas, they are not healed in one lifetime and often reappear in another. The combination of an ancestral past linked to African ways of knowing and a Western psychological systemic approach in the present creates a powerful and profound method of liberating healing potential for the future.
As we enter 2019, it is a good time to revisit and rethink the work. I am taking opportunities to reflect on how to approach Ancestral Constellations work. There is renewed interest in the ‘ancestral’ from clients and a deeper understanding of the role that I bring to this practice as a woman of African heritage. This will be reflected over the coming weeks and months in posts on this blog!
Until next time!
Sonya’s first published articles appeared in the Training and Development Methods and Coaching at Work journals in 2006. She returned to writing in 2019 with articles for the systemic constellations journal, The Knowing Field and Therapy Today. Sonya is currently writing a commissioned book, that explores Transgenerational Therapy and Ancestral Remembering in the African Diaspora. For more information visit Sonya’s author website.